Friday, 20 August 2021

Dating your vintage kokeshi doll

Be careful when reading the date written on a vintage kokeshi doll's base! If the doll is vintage this will generally have been written using the Japanse nengo calendar and not the Western Gregorian calendar. The Japanese nengo calendar uses years based on the reigns of the Japanese emporers. For example, Naruhito, the current emperor, started his reign (known as the Reiwa era*) in 2019 hence the year 2021 is known as Reiwa 3. His father Akihito started his reign in 1989 the year of the death of his own father (Hirohito) hence 1989 is known as Showa 64 or Heisei 1 and 1990 is known as Heisei 2.

* each emperor's reign /era is allocated a name the last three being Showa (Hirohito) Heisei (Akihito) and Reiwa (Naruhito)