Kokeshi – arguably, the ancestors of post-WW2 kawaii or ‘cuteness’ culture – are traditional Japanese wooden dolls that were first made by craftsmen during the end of the Edo period in the late 1800s. To wit:
The skills needed to craft kokeshi is traditionally passed down through the family line. The sons of kokeshi masters typically become apprentices and learn the craft from their father in their own homes or workshops. However, now that more focus is being put on keeping this ancient art alive, more and more women are learning how to make kokeshi too. This new generation of artists learn everything they need to know under the guidance of a kokeshi master.