Vintage Traditional Kokeshi

Vintage Nambu/Kina-Kina Traditional Kokeshi by Sasaki, Kakuhei


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 10-0” h

One of the places where the Nambu (Hanamaki) kokeshi were conceived and made is Hanamaki, a hot springs resort in Iwate-ken. This doll has the Hitoe-Mabuta, (single lid) ,eyes, and the Neko-Bana, (cat’s nose), with double bangs framing the face. It has a bulbous body shape that incorporates the Rokuru-Moyo horizontal lines in red and green.

Vintage Condition: Beautiful, “as is” condition, and retains the original craft/workmanship, and is commensurate with age. There is slight discoloration of the green line work from handling, with no chipping/cracking or structural damage. 

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