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Posted 5 years ago


(675 items)

I like wooden objects - 'treen' is the term. It was only yesterday that Roman made a comment on another Kokeshi doll on CW and I promised that I would put up this doll that I bought about a month ago at the Salvo's. An interesting purchase that set me off on yet another tangent: the challenge of Japanese language and culture.

After a month of research and emails to a friend who is a a Japanese speaker and her contacts as well I am still confronted by the same question new or old? "SHINGATA" or "SOSAKU"? In this case I'm certain it is going to be "SHINGATA" yet again. But the whole process is about learning from the object, no?

This is a doll made in one piece. It is turned wood. One piece dolls are quite particular: KIJIYAMA-KEI. Northern Japan, Honshu, Akita prefecture in the north west of the island. Wild forest territory, streams and wilderness. Spa territory. Tourism and a souvenir industry similar to the Bohemian 'spa-glass' I suppose. But this area also made the wooden boxes that were later lacquered and became a familiar part of Japanese export wares: Aizu-nuri. An important family producing these wooden boxes up until about 1915 was the Ogura family.

This doll bears the name of the Ogura family.
The characters that are found on the rear have Akita Kawatsura on the right.
On the left is the family name of Ogura but the bottom two characters are a bit of a puzzle:
Ogura Tomego?
Ogura Hisataro?
I know it is neither Ogura Kyushiro, Ogura Kyutaro nor Ogura Ishizou.

More puzzling is the mark on the bottom written in the English alphabet. It seems to bear little or no relationship to what is on the back of the doll. I think I can even see the number "80"?

I love the face. The nose is called a cat's nose or "neko-baba". The look is wistful in just a few brushstrokes. The 'maekake', maedare apron of the kimono has three bowl shaped (hachi) plum blossoms. There is a bow on top of the head holding the bangs.

Hieight: 24.5 cm or 9.6"
Width: 6.5 cm or 2.5"

Any help or input would be appreciated.

Unsolved Mystery

Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.


  1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Many thanks kerry10456!
  2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Many thanks mustangtony!
  3. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Hi Sean Many thanks!I'm in the Garage on Apple creating some music for the first time!
  4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Many thanks, Amy!
  5. ozmarty ozmarty, 5 years ago
    Hi Vet the "80 "could be gs
  6. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Many thanks inky and Marty too! What's written there defeats me for the mo'!
  7. Budek Budek, 5 years ago
    I love these dolls,
    Creating Music?.....wonderful!!!!!
    may you be fruitful with it
    Beautiful day here, sunny and breezy

  8. Justanovice Justanovice, 5 years ago
    You may have retired, but you will never stop teaching, its in the soul!!
    Lovely Doll too!!
  9. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Many thanks Justanovice, Sean B and to you too czechman!
  10. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Many thanks miKKo!
  11. AmberRose AmberRose, 5 years ago
    How did I miss this? I added a baby to my growing family too. Only two inches tall, so cute
  12. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Many thanks Amber! My mate Lois is soon to be the adoptive parent. She is the Japanese speaker who helps me with my Japanese 'problem children'.
  13. buzwazee buzwazee, 5 years ago
    I think the top line of English looks like someone wrote "Hawaii" and '80? Maybe it was purchased in Hawaii in 1980.
  14. buzwazee buzwazee, 5 years ago
    And could they have been trying to spell "Kawatsura" on the second line? It looks like part of the K could be missing.
  15. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Many thanks buzmazee! It certainly does look like Hawaii, I hadn't thought ... I certainly appreciate another set of eyes. This could well be it!
  16. kokeshigirl, 5 years ago
    It's made by Ogura Shogo. His great uncles are Kyushiro and Ishizo. Kyutaro is his uncle. He was born in 1934 and passed away in 1992.
    This is not Sosaku or Shingata kokeshi. This is Dento (traditional) kokeshi.
    It's a nice kokeshi. Enjoy!
  17. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Many thanks Kokeshigirl! I'm so happy to finally know it is by Ogura Shogo. Thanks yet again.
  18. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    Many thanks AGHCOLLECT!!!!

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