Kokeshi dolls: More Than a Pretty Face

Traditional kokeshi ningyo are Japanese dolls with a colourful history and controversial reputation.

Traditional Kokeshi

Traditional Kokeshi

They have been associated with miscarried babies and infanticide. They were guardians of children and keepers of their souls. Today, the word kokeshi is even used as a sexual innuendo.

Kokeshi were originally souvenirs for Japanese tourists and offered entertainment to children. However, they developed into something much more. The dolls are fascinating, shocking, sad or mundane depending on the perspective.

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