Tsuchiyu Kokeshi Dolls 


Yukinori Jinnohara | Tsuchiyu Kokeshi Doll Artisan

Yukinori Jinnohara Tsuchiyu Kokeshi artisan 陣野原幸紀土湯こけし工人Born in 1947 Tsuchiyu Kokeshi dolls maker

A Tsuchiyu Kokeshi doll maker, and also president of the Tsuchiyu Kokeshi Association. He has received many prizes from Japan Kokeshi dolls contests which have been held in Shiroishi city in Miyagi-prefecture every May since 1959 and other competitions such as the Michinoku Kokeshi Dolls contest, that has been held at Yamagata city in Yamagata prefecture every October since 1980 with a yearly participation of nearly 100 artisans, and the Japan Kokeshi Dolls festival which has been held at Naruko hot spring village in Miyagi prefecture every September since 1948 and which has attracted nearly 100 artisans to compete every year.


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


The Tsuchiyu-Kokeshi doll was developed mainly in the Tsuchiyu-onsen village, it is approximately 30 minutes by car from Fukusima station in Fukusima prefecture and is located in the Arakawa valley, which is between the Azuma mountains and Adatara mountains. It is said that Kamegoro Sakuma, a woodturner, started to make kokeshi dolls from around 1820 and his eldest son, Yashichi, invented the turnable head structure.

The shape of the Tsuchiyu-Kokeshi doll is a cylindrical narrow body with a slightly wider bottom. The head is smaller than other Kokeshi dolls. On the top of the head is a black coiled pattern like a fish eye that is called “Jya-no-me”, “snake eye” in Japanese. There is also a red ribbon-like design on each side of the forehead called “Kase” in Japanese.
There is a pattern of stripes around the body, which is painted while the doll is rotating on the lathe, called “Rokuro-sen” in Japanese. However, it is also possible to see this on other kokeshi dolls. The Tsuchiyu-Kokeshi doll has an original and unique pattern which is created by using a lathe called “Kaeshi-Rokuro”, this is a reverse turning technique. Floral designs are also sometimes added and furthermore, there can be eyes with a pupil and lower eyelid which is called “Kujira-me”, “whale eye” in Japanese. The nose is round and the mouth is similar to “Betty Boo”. The head is jointed to the body with a closely fitting gooseneck that emits a “cry” when the head is turned. The Naruko-Kokeshi doll also has this characteristic.

Places of production: Mainly in Tsuchiyu-onsen, but also can be found in other places like Fukushima, Iizaka-oansen and AizuWakamatsu.


Tsuchiyu-Kokeshi Tsubushi




Tsuchiyu-Kokeshi Kasa