Art doll

Arceus’ Pokéshi doll has a real Japanese equivalent

The Pokéshi doll in Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a unique item that’s shaped like a Clefairy, but it’s based on a real type of Japanese doll.

The Pokéshi doll in Pokemon Legends: Arceus may seem like a simple object, but it is actually based on a real Japanese doll. In Pokemon Legends: Arceus, players can learn how to craft a Pokéshi Doll through one of its many quests. Although only three pieces of wood are needed to craft it, wood isn’t always so easy to find in the Hisui region, so players’ inventories likely won’t be overflowing with Pokéshi dolls.

The sole purpose of Pokéshi dolls Pokemon Legends: Arceus must be sold for money, similar to items like Nuggets and Star Pieces. The object itself has a cylindrical “body” painted pink, with a round “head” with ears and facial markings like Clefairy, the evolution of Pokemon Legends: Arceus‘Cleffa rare and elusive. Close inspection of the item icon shows a cute detail: Clefairy’s hands are painted on the body, with one hand with one finger pointing upwards as if ready to use his familiar Metronome attack. Despite all these Pokemon references, however, the item itself is based on a real type of Japanese doll.

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The Kokeshi doll is a Japanese doll very similar to the Pokéshi doll. It is traditionally carved from several pieces of wood which are glued together. The oldest types of Kokeshi have a cylindrical body and a round head, just like the Pokéshi doll. They also traditionally only used three colors of paint – red, yellow and black – to put the details on the head and body. Although the craftable Pokemon Legends: Arceus The Pokéshi Doll doesn’t use these colors exactly, its very limited color palette of black, brown, and shades of pink strongly reminiscent of the real deal. Over time, some Kokeshi dolls were made using more wood, including extra pieces for hair and sometimes even arms, and body shapes changed as well. Although still primarily cylindrical in nature, Kokeshi doll bodies can now be much more varied; some Kokeshi dolls are even made from a single block of wood for a particularly unique look.


Japanese Kokeshi Doll Inspired Legends: Arceus’ Pokéshi Doll (and Nintendo’s Miis)


Pokemon Legends Arceus Pokeshi Doll and Nintendo Mii in front of various modern Kokeshi dolls

The Kokeshi doll originates from the Touhoku region of Japan, which encompasses the six northernmost prefectures of Honshu, Japan’s largest island. Just north of Touhoku is the island of Hokkaido, which is the base of the cold, mountainous region of Sinnoh and Pokemon Legends: Arceus‘Hisui region. The NPC who asks the player to make him a Pokéshi Doll already knows the recipe for it, which could be a reference to how the Kokeshi Doll made its own way through Japan. Kokeshi dolls were originally designed to be used as toys, but they have also become collectible works of art, similar to how the Pokéshi doll can be sold for money. However, the Pokéshi Doll may have been the in-universe inspiration for the Poké Doll item, which is meant to be played with like an ordinary toy. The Pokéshi doll probably did not retain the effect of the Poké doll because in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, running away from regular wild Pokémon always succeeds.


Pokemon Legends: Arceus This isn’t the first time a Nintendo property has taken inspiration from the Kokeshi doll, however. With their cylindrical bodies, rounded heads, minimal colors, and streamlined facial features that look like they could be painted with a brush, the iconic Mii characters are also based on the Japanese Kokeshi. Unlike the Pokéshi Doll, however, Miis have their own distinct limbs that aren’t painted.

Next: Legends: Arceus or BDSP – Which Pokemon Game Should You Buy?

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