My wife and I, for our honeymoon, went to Japan this past April. While there, we went to the Harajuku district of Shibuya, Tokyo, home to — among other designer toy movement artists and brands — Secret Base. And their small shop, a shared space with Three Tides Tattoo, maintained a limited but wonderful selection of Secret Base’s works.

My Impressions of the Fortune Kokeshi series

Among the pieces available there were these Fortune Kokeshi (2015), which announced itself to be a series of five designs depicting classic monsters: The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy, a Skeleton, and, the only one I wasn’t able to get, Dracula.

Sold in a blind box style, meaning you didn’t know which design was inside the packaging, these are a wonderful modernization of really classic Japanese toys. Kokeshi are basic doll shapes, typically made out of wood, that have a simple trunk body and an enlarged head but lack sculpted arms or legs. Usually adorned with a few thin, painted lines to define the character, kokeshi were standardly marked with the signature of the artist on the bottom, though — as you can see — the Secret Base mark is made instead on the backside.
Theoretically designed by Secret Base’s owner, Hideaki “Hiddy” Kinoshita, these have a hidden secondary component as well: a paper fortune that is securely concealed within the hollow figurine.
Unfortunately, I don’t speak or read Japanese, so the details of this fortune are lost on me, but it is still a brilliant memento of our trip. More so, perhaps, because these are only available to purchase by visiting the shop in-person. Yes, no online ordering for these, which is unfortunate as I think these are wonderful. Secret Base have kept true to that traditional concept of kokeshi while making something fun for horror fans as well. And it is our understanding that this is only the first series in an ongoing line, with the second to depict Japanese ghosts — or yokai — and the third to focus on aliens.
Secret Base's Fortune Kokeshi Review - Fortune

For more information on Secret Base:
website | blog

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