This piece is typical of Tokoku's mature work. Born in 1846 in Edo, he had made ivory manju in his early days, having taught himself to carve without being apprenticed to an older artist. In later days he turned to pipe-cases and inro, before reverting to this type of netsuke, for which he had become so renowned. He opened his own school in 1862, and died in 1931. For signatures and other pieces by Tokoku, see Lazarinick, Vol II, pp 1103-1105. Four pieces by him are illustrated in the Go Collection of Netsuke, pp 176-179, pl. 339-344.