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Kokeshi Dumbbell

In Japan, you can lift dolls instead of weights.

Kokeshi are Japanese dolls, handmade from wood with a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The body has a floral design painted in red, black, and sometimes yellow, and covered with a layer of wax. One characteristic of Kokeshi dolls is their lack of arms or legs. The bottom is marked with the signature of the artist.

"Dumbbells" as a word originated in Tudor England - strongmen used hand-held church bells to develop the upper body and arms. They removed the clappers (the thing inside the bell which hits the sides of the bell and makes the noise) so they could practice quietly; hence the name "dumb" as in "no sound" and "bell" - dumbbell. By the early 19th Century, the familiar shape of the dumbbell, with two equal weights attached to a handle, had appeared.

Without doubt the resemblance of the two inspired Gendaibujitsu Nitouhey to transform a dull dumbbell forged from iron into an artistically decorated Kokeshi adding traditional Japanese craftwork to ordinary looking and non-inspiring training equipment. As with the original Kokeshi this decorated Kokeshi dumbbell likewise has the designer's name printed on the bottom

The Kokeshi dumbbells come in 2 and 3-kilogram weights and cost 7350 yen (approx $72 USD) and 8400 yen (approx $82 USD), respectively.