• Matsuda Kokeshi Koubo Image
  • Matsuda Kokeshi Koubo Image
  • Matsuda Kokeshi Koubo Image
  • Matsuda Kokeshi Koubo Image

About Matsuda Kokeshi Koubo

Showroom Showroom Spirit and craftsmanship inherited over three generations are reflected, together with150 years of tradition, in the traditional kokeshi dolls of Miyagi Prefecture made here.
The third generation, and present head of the family, began learning how to make kokeshi dolls when he was 14 years old from his father and grandfather. He aims to take the art in new directions and create new works that are more in line with the current times while still carrying on the traditional style of kokeshi dolls from Naruko, Miyagi Prefecture.

Showroom Item variation

Artifact Information

Artifact NameNaruko Traditional-style Kokeshi Dolls : doll
History The making of kokeshi dolls is said to have started from around the middle of the Edo period as souvenirs sold to visitors at hot spring spas in the Tohoku region. In those days, unfinished wooden toys from the mountain villages of the Michinoku region were seen as excellent playthings for children, who had little else for entertainment. Among these toys, kokeshi dolls from Naruko have a particularly unique style to them acquired over their long history such as creative hairstyles for bangs, a bulge at the shoulders, a stable chest, and realistic waistlines. The heads are made separately and fit onto a peg at the top, and if you turn the heads left and right, they make asqueaking sound. The dolls are in the shape of cute little girls from the Michinoku region.

*Lucky charms made to fulfill a particular hope by wood turners keeping the traditions alive.
・“Birth kokeshi” – To commemorate a birth in the hope that the child will grow up healthy.
・“Marriage kokeshi” – To hope for an ever-happy marriage full of smiles.
・“Enju (pagoda tree) kokeshi” – Placed in the northeast corner of new houses, etc. to ward off evil spirits.

The Traditional Craftsman Profile

Craftsman Name
Tadao Matsuda
Career Born in Naruko, Miyagi Prefecture in 1956
Won the Miyagi Prefecture Industry Promotion Distinguished Services Prize
Won the Labor Minister Prize
Won the Education Minister Prize
Chosen for the East Japan Project (EJP): Works displayed at Milano Salone
Won the 7th Japanese Souvenir Academy Grand-Prix

Manufacturing Method

Working view Working view (1) Dry the wood (remove the bark and let the wood dry naturally for six months to a year)

(2) Cross-cut the wood (cut the wood into the proper size)

(3) Saw down the wood (cut off unnecessary portions of wood)

(4) Plane the wood roughly / plane the head and body (spin the wood using a woodworking lathe and shave down the head and body with a wood plane)

(5) Polish the wood (polish with sandpaper or scouring rushes, etc.)

(6) Fit the pieces together (hammer the body and head together)

(7) Apply designs (paint the face and body patterns)

(8) Finishing touches (finish up by applying wax)

Location & Address

■ 松田工房: Matsuda Kokeshi Koubo

Home page Signboard
Postal code
126-10 Kaminaruko Naruko-onsen Osaki Miyagi
Business hours
8:00 - 16:30
No scheduled
Shop / Gallery
8:00 - 16:30 (Holidays : No scheduled)
Tryout for painting
Required for a reservation in 1 week advance
*Up to 45 people
Fee - \1,000(a 18cm-kokeshi) ~
Free - Production process
Reservation - Not required