Vintage Traditional Kokeshi

Vintage Traditional Hijiori Kokeshi by Suzuki, Seiichi


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 12-0” h

There are few craftsmen who make this type of kokeshi. It shows a mixture of Tougatta and Narugo. This kokeshi is a large “rattle”. It's most recognizable feature is the large head that is hollow and filled with rice, (gara iri), that creates a sharp sound when it is shaken. The head is edged with thick black hair accenting her face. The double-lid eyes are shown under her large eyebrows with slightly opened and accentuated pursed red lips. Her nose is the Naga-Bana style, (long nose that is very pronounced). The simulated kimono has the standard layered red and green Chrysanthemum pattern, which is framed, utilizing Rokuru-Moyo horizontal lines, against the natural yellowed wood. The top of her head shows expressive and flaming Chrysanthemum leaves. The doll is signed on the bottom by the artist.

Vintage Condition: Excellent, (“as is”), retaining the original craft/workmanship, commensurate with age. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear, or structural damage is noted. 

Japanese Traditional Kokeshi | Hijiori-Kei (Family)

Prefecture: Yamagata


The Hijiori-style dolls originated in Yamagata prefecture, at Hijiori Onsen, and at Sendai city and are the result of the merging of two Kokeshi-making families: Narugo and Tougatta. Hijiori were first developed by Shusuke Sata, who moved from Togatta to the Hijiori spa, which is surrounded by the enduring presence of the "Dewa Sanzan" (three mountains n the Dewa area.)The Hijiori doll is considered a popular model for Kokeshi books and has very distinctive facial features and head decorations. Because fewer of these dolls are produced than the other styles, they are highly favoured among doll collectors because they are so distinctive and attractive, and typically more expensive.

Collector's note – characteristics / painting style:

The main characteristics of Hijiori dolls are a stable body, beveled shoulders, and a squeeze-in type of head similar to Narugo dolls. The large heads are like the Tougatta, and the bodies are shaped more like the Narugo. The double eyelids or eyes with the irises facing upwards are typical. Hijiori dolls are found in two styles: one with the body painted with chrysanthemums, (Kiku), and divided by a narrow obi, and one on which the body is decorated with a 'spray' formation of flowers. The colour yellow is frequently used to paint the ground of the body. In some instances, maple leaves will also be incorporated. 

Notable Artists:

Sato Junosuke, b. 1930
Sato Shouichi, b. 1935
Sato Toranosuke, Master
Sato Minosuke, Master
Sato Shousuke, Grand Master