Vintage Traditional Kokeshi

Vintage Nambu/Kina-Kina Traditional Kokeshi by Matsuda, Seiichi

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 7-1/8” h

This Nambu kokeshi is a plain wooden doll and is derived from the original pacifiers made for children. The doll has a comparatively small head that “bobbles or sways”, and moves freely via an attached joint/stem. The image of this doll demonstrates the  “swaying” action of this family of dolls.The piece has the signature of the artist on the bottom of the doll.

Vintage Condition: Excellent, (“as is”), completely free from the effects of aging and is commensurate with age. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear, or structural damage is noted. 

Japanese Traditional Kokeshi | Nambu/Kina-Kina-Kei (Family)

Prefecture: Awata


This family of traditional dolls might well be considered the original Kokeshi, as it is said they were modeled after a baby’s pacifier. They originated in the cities of Hanamaki and Morioka, and the Yumoto Onsen in Awate Prefecture. Several shapes of kina-kina continue to be made now in somewhat larger sizes. These have been called Kikuriboko, or, "Child of Wood."

Collector's note – characteristics / painting style:

They started as unpainted ‘teething’ dolls, and the wood would have a very smooth surface. These unpainted versions are called Kina-Kina, and most would have movable heads, similar to the modern “nodders”. The head would be of the snap-on type, attached loosely so that it would turn and wobble. At one point, some Nanbu artists, influenced by the popularity of Narugo and Tougatta dolls, began painting the plain Nanbu-kei with stylized chrysanthemums. These decorated dolls were then called Hanamaki dolls with bangs, side fringes, double eyelids, and cat or round noses. Though these basically plain dolls are not as decorative as others of the traditional school, their unique, flowing forms are stronger visually because of their inherent elegance.

Notable artists:

Susumago Jitsutaro
Matsuda Shouichi
Matsuda Seichi
Matsuda Tokujiro (trained by Mokichi Susumago)
Susumago Mokichi, Grand Master