• Making Kokeshi

    Exceptionally simple form of kokeshi profoundly conveys the warmth of wood. Here, we would like to introduce 3 core phrases of kokeshi-making.

    1. Drying Wood

    At Sakurai Kokeshi, we dry raw wood for around 18 months to ensure that the wood achieves the right balance of dryness and whiteness. The process starts with peeling the bark by hand; this is done in the middle of winter, when the air is least humid.

    2. Turning

    Selected wood pieces are put on a potter’s wheel and carved into the form of a kokeshi using a variety of tools. In Naruko, kokeshi craftspeople still carve kokeshi using the traditional method, in which the head and body are carved separately. These pieces are then joined together skillfully while spinning

    3. Drawing

    A kokeshi is given life through the lively brushwork of a craftsperson. The face loosely

    reflects that of a child, and the body traditionally features some form of chrysanthemum, which is an auspicious symbol. All our kokeshi designs are drawn by hand, so every piece is unique.

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