katabori-netsuke or “sculpture netsuke” – This is the most common type of netsuke. They are compact three-dimensional figures carved in a round shape and are usually around one to three inches high.
anabori-netsuke or “hollowed netsuke” – subset of katabori which are carved out for a hollow center. Clams are most commonly the motifs for this type of netsuke.
sashi-netsuke – This is an elongated form of katabori, literally “stab” netsuke, similar in length to the sticks and gourds used as improvised netsuke before carved pieces were produced. They are about six inches long.
obi-hasami – another elongated netsuke with a curved top and bottom. It sits behind the obi with the curved ends visible above and below the obi.
manju-netsuke – a thick, flat, round netsuke, with carving usually done in relief, sometimes made of two ivory halves. Shaped like a manju, a Japanese confection.
ryusa-netsuke – shaped like a manjū, but carved like lace, so that light is transmitted through the item.
kagamibuta-netsuke or “mirror-lid netsuke” – shaped like a manjū, but with a metal disc serving as a lid to a shallow bowl, usually of ivory. The metal is often highly decorated with a wide variety of metallurgical techniques.
karakuri-netsuke or “trick/mechanism netsuke” – any netsuke that has moving parts or hidden surprises.