Circa 1890


The woman sitting behind a large mushroom of dubious form, with an ambigous natural crack to the front, looking around it from the left side, carved with suppleness suggesting the movement of the lady.


H. 3.8 cm

Private collection, United Kingdom
With us, pre-2021


Okame (plain-looking woman) (おかめ). It is said that the name was chosen because the shape of her swollen cheeks looked like a vase (kame in Japanese). As okame is also called otafuku and means many fortunes, she is regarded as good omen. The origin of the figure is said to be from Amenouzume (goddess of entertainment) in Japanese Mythology, however, there is an opinion that the name okame came from the name of a 'miko' (a shrine maiden) during the Muromachi period. As for the name Otafuku, there is an opinion that it is derived from the meaning of many fortunes mentioned above, and there is also another opinion that it came from the name of a fish 'Fugu' (blow fish) because her swollen cheeks are similar to the puffed up fish.

Shunga Netsuke of Okame and a Small Mushroom