Vintage Traditional Kokeshi

Yajirou-Kei (Family) | Seishi, Takahashi



Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 11-1/4” h

One characteristic features of the Yajiro kokeshi is the head with a multi-colored cap-like Rokoru Moyo pattern painted on a lathe to create perfectly rendered lines. It has a thick, undulating body with a broad base, giving the impression of being more stable. The waist shows three-dimensional carving in the middle to accentuate the simulated obi. Flowers from the cherry tree have been incorporated into the body. The neck and bottom of the doll further simulates a kimono. Her head is oversized, which is characteristic of this family of dolls, with eyes are called Hitoe-Mabuta, (single-lid), a simple eye drawn with a single curved line with an eyeball underneath. The nose is called Bachi-Bana, (drum-stick nose).

Vintage Condition: The piece is in excellent condition, (“as is”), and retains the original craft/workmanship and commensurate with age. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear, or structural damage is noted.

Yajirou-Kei (Family)

Prefecture: Miyagi


Yajirou dolls are some of the most brightly painted of the traditional family set. Utilizing a veritable rainbow of colours, from the usual red and black, to green, yellow, and even blue and purple, they are available in probably the widest range of shapes. The creators of these dolls hail from the small farming village of Yajirou near Kamasaki Onsen in Miyagi Prefecture.

Collector's note – characteristics/painting style:

The majority of this style has distinct waists and wider bases, making them very stable. The upper body usually has a hand-painted collar with horizontal stripes encircling the body, as in the Rokoru moyo style, and vertical stripes running below the waist to the base of the doll. However, Yajirou dolls can also be found with a series of chrysanthemum petals running down the front of the body, or a branch of plum blossoms as the only decoration. Some, though, have a painted beret-like feature or a bun on their heads, similarly painted with a red center spot. Less common are Yajirou have conical hats known as Suge-Gasa. Typically seen is one lid or double eye lids, cat or pick shaped nose.

Notable artists:

Satou Denki, b. 1909
Satou Dennai, Master
Ishikawa Tokujiro, b. 1915
Niiyama Fukutaro, Master
Sato Tatsuro, b. 1928
Sato Imasaburo, Master
Hamatsu Heizaburo, b. 1933
Niiyama Sanai, MasterYajirou
Niiyama Yoshinori, b. 1960
Niiyama Yoshitaro, Grand Master