Usaburo Kokeshi Doll Factory
I got to tour the highly respected Usaburo Kokeshi Doll Factory located in Gunma. Gunma Prefecture is the top producing area of sosaku kokeshi in Japan. Kokeshi made in Gunma is called modern kokeshi, and is differentiated from dento (traditional) kokeshi produced in the Tohoku district (northeastern Honshu). It is also characterized by freedom from the conventional shapes of kokeshi. The change in the basic design of kokeshi from traditional ones with a round head into those of little girls with bobbed hair symbolize the flexibility of Gunma kokeshi. The basic designs of kokeshi developed by Usaburo feature this bobbed hair and a plump round body. The simple lines of his products had the somewhat archaic beauty of the Orient, and their characteristic designs were highly regarded in overseas market, too.