Togatta Kokeshi Dolls


Kazuo Sato | Togatta Kokeshi Doll Artisan

Born 1st January 1936- Togatta Kokeshi doll Maker

A Togatta Kokeshi doll maker who has received three Prime Minister Prizes in 1988, 1995 and 2003 (a grand prize which is a commendation bestowed by the Prime Minister of Japan) at the Japan Kokeshi Dolls contest which have been held in Shiroishi city in Miyagi-prefecture every May since 1959. Every year nearly 200 artisans have participated with a total of over 1,000 Kokeshi dolls. Kazuo Sato also received one Prime Minister Prize at the Michinoku Kokeshi Dolls contest in 1988 which has been held at Yamagata city in Yamagata prefecture on every October since 1980 with an annual participation of nearly 100 artisans. He also received the title of Master of Kokeshi Artisan in 2004. He is one of the top Togatta kokeshi doll makers and a union president of Togatta kokeshi dolls.

History of Togatta-Kokeshi ~one of the three major Kokeshi towns~


The Togatta-kokeshi doll was developed mainly in the Togatta hot-spring village in Zao twon, a 70 minute car journey from Sendai city in Miyagi prefecture, and it is located at the foot of “Mt.Zao” a hot-spring town which is also used as a base for many ski areas in these mountains.

The typical trait of a Togatta-kokeshi doll is a straight slender cylindrical body and a large head with narrow eyes. The top of the head is usually painted red with radial curving lines from the forehead down the side of both cheeks. This pattern is called ‘Tegara.’
The patterns on the body are mainly hand-painted flowers. Togatta-Kokeshi usually have the most gorgeous and rich floral patterns. There are six traditional patterns, Kasane-giku (Overlapped chrysanthemums), Sakura-kuzushi (Simplified cherry blossom), Eda-ume (Japanese Plum), Kasane-botann (Overlapped peonies), Asahi-giku (Sunrise chrysanthemum) and Mokume (Wood grain).
The Wood grain pattern is a family pattern which can only be used by an artisan who has attained full mastership. Some dolls that have lines on the body were painted while the doll was still on the lathe. This kokeshi doll is made in two parts and constructed by inserting the "neck" of the doll into a hole in the head.


Places of production:

Mainly in Togatta-onsen, but also can be found in other places like Aone-onsen, Akiho-onsen and Sendai-city.



Togatta-Kokeshi Mokume


Togatta-Kokeshi Sakurakuzushi


Togatta-Kokeshi Kasanegiku