2014 / Japan Foundation’s lecture series to feature “Kokeshi” doll, April 17

Japan Foudnation Kokeshi

JFLA Lecture Series 18 

KOKESHI: The Tohoku Artisan Spirit 

by Manami Okazaki 

Thursday, April 17th, 7:00PM

Kokeshi are traditional Japanese dolls from Tohoku region that are made of wood. 

Manami Okazaki, a journalist and author based in Japan will talk about Kokeshi and the Tohoku artisan spirit. 

In her talk she will cover the various types of Kokeshi, the production process, as well as the bucolic regions where they are made in Tohoku, how they were affected by 3/11, and how Kokeshi relates to contemporary aesthetic sensibilities like Kawaii culture. 

She will be bringing Kokeshi dolls and photographic prints for a pop-up exhibit.

Date: Thursday, April 17, 7:00PM

Venue: The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles  (5700 Wilshire Blvd. # 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036)

Admission: Free   *RSVP Required:Click here to RSVP

Street parking is available near JFLA. Click Here for Parking Info



Kokeshi are traditional dolls that are made of wood and are characterized by their lack of arms or legs.

They are produced in the Tohoku region of Japan and were originally a children’s toy, although they are more often used as a form of decoration nowadays and displayed in the home. 

Abroad, Kokeshi dolls are considered to be an icon of Japan, and reflect Japanese aesthetic sensibilities with their simple, elegant and minimalist designs.

Manami Okazaki

Manami Okazaki is a journalist and author originally from Australia, now based in Japan.

Among her best selling titles are the recent books “Kawaii, Japan’s Culture of Cute,”(Prestel) “Kokeshi, from Tohoku with Love,”(Kingyo) “Kicks Japan” (Mark Batty)  and“Wabori, Traditional Japanese Tattoo” (Kingyo).

Her books have been featured in newspapers and magazines such as the Independent, the Japan Times, WSJ, WSJ Live, MTV, LA Times, O Globo, Vogue, Mac Design Directoryamongst others.

She has also contributed to over 50 publications worldwide including the Wall Street Journal’s Scene Asia, the Japan Times and transit magazine, and has given talks at the Foreign Correspondents Club Tokyo, and the Japan Expo in Paris (2011, 2013).

In 2012 and 2013, Manami travelled extensively around Tohoku researching Kokeshi, a region she feels a strong affinity with, as her grandparents were from the coastal town of Onagawa — one of the worst hit areas by the tsunami.

In 2013, she published the charity book “Kokeshi, from Tohoku with Love”.