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Press Releases

October 1, 2009
OCTOBER PROGRAMS FOCUS ON 'KOKESHI' CLOSING, TARGET FREE FAMILY SATURDAY OCT. 10: Alan Pate to Discuss History of Hina-Matsuri (Girls' Day) Dolls on Oct. 4

The Japanese American National Museum is featuring a variety of programs that are family-friendly in October, beginning with a sushi making workshop on Saturday, Oct. 3, a lecture discussing the meaning of the dolls used for Girls’ Day on Sunday, Oct. 4, and the popular Target Free Family Saturday program set for Saturday, Oct. 10, with the theme of "Toy ...

September 30, 2009

The unique exhibition, Kokeshi: From Folk Art to Art Toy, will end its installation at the Japanese American National Museum on Sunday, October 4, which included over 200 Japanese dolls from a private collection alongside of the works of custom and contemporary artists.

The exhibition, developed in collaboration between the National Museum and the Los Angeles Toy, Doll, and Amusements ...

July 21, 2009

Itske Stern, author of several authoritative articles on the history of the traditional Japanese kokeshi, will discuss this subject and the remarkable collection she and her husband Anthony have collected over the years at a public program, "Kokeshi: Not Just a Toy!", set for Saturday, July 25, at 2 pm. at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo.

This ...

July 1, 2009
KOKESHI: FROM FOLK ART TO ART TOY EXHIBITION TO FEATURE OVER 300 DOLLS: National Museum Partners with Los Angeles Toy, Doll & Amusements (LATDA) Museum

A new exhibition, Kokeshi: From Folk Art to Art Toy, organized by the Los Angeles Toy, Doll & Amusements (LATDA) Museum in collaboration with the Japanese American National Museum, will bring together the traditional Japanese doll with hundreds of examples of contemporary and custom kokeshi created by American and international artists beginning on July 11 and running through October 4, ...

JANM in the News

The articles below are presented for informational purposes only. The Japanese American National Museum does not take responsibility for the accuracy or own rights to the content provided. Accessibility and length of availability of articles are at the discretion of the publisher; payment or member access may also be required.

To access other external articles related to the Museum, please visit our general “JANM in the News” page at

Kokeshi craze hits exhibit in Little Tokyo at the JANM, August 24, 2009

No longer just a child's toy, the Japanese Kokeshi doll has claimed a new role among art toy enthusiasts. For illustrators and artists alike, the kokeshi doll is an object of beauty, perfect for transforming into modern art objects. Currently on display at the Japanese American National Museum are over 100 such examples of kokeshi doll forms, custom-made by over 100 international artists.

Kokeshi: From Folk Art to Art Toy
NBC4 News, August 6, 2009

NBC4 Reporter Cary Berglund interviews Japanese American National Museum curator Maria Kwong and artists Joji Okazaki, Nicole DeLeon and Edwin Ushio about the current exhibition, Kokeshi: From Folk Art to Art Toy. The feature show many of the hundreds of kokeshi on display. (2:29 in length)

Kokeshi: From Folk Art to Art Toy
Cool Hunting, July 21, 2009

The exhibit, "Kokeshi: From Folk Art to Art Toy" pays homage to traditional Japanese Kokeshi, brightly painted wooden dolls with no arms or legs, at the LATDA in collaboration with the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in downtown Los Angeles. A giant crocheted doll by Emi Motokaw greets museum goers at the entrance, welcoming them into the three-part exhibit. The first part shows Itske and Anthony Stern's collection of traditional Kokeshi, followed by 11 contemporary artists' original takes on the Kokeshi in diverse media. For the third section entitled "Custom Kokeshi 2009," curator Christina Conway gave over 100 artists an identical blank Kokeshi form to create pieces of art.

Cool Hunting asked Conway to tell us more about the world of customized toys, the artists and the surprises she found along the way.

Kokeshi: From Folk Art to Art Toy Exhibition
Studio-Online, July 2, 2009

Kokeshi originated in the north of Japan in a region called Tohoku, and often were the toys of the children of farmers or souvenirs for visitors to nearby hot springs. Handmade out of wood, they traditionally were characterized by a slim trunk for a body and a larger round head. As a Japanese folk toy, kokeshi are believed by some to be charms that can help ward off dangers, especially fire. The wood of the mizuki tree is often used for kokeshi and mizuki literally translates as "water tree."

Preview: Kokeshi: From Folk Art to Art Toy @JANM (7.11)
Daily DuJour, June 24, 2009

Presented by LATDA, Kokeshi from Folk Art to Art Toy opening on July 11th, 2009 @ the Japanese American National Museum, offers a broad survey of a multitude of Kokeshi – Japanese wood dolls that were traditionally collected as souvenirs by hot springs visitors. The large show will feature three sections – the first features over 300 examples of traditional kokeshi from the collection of Itske and Anthony Stern, the second features contemporary original takes on the koekshi from eleven artists working in diverse media, and the third section entitled Custom Kokeshi 2009 curated by Christina Conway features over 100 international artists interpretations of an identical blank kokeshi wood form.