Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nishiogi Kokeshi Festival

Close-up of the event poster.

Kokeshi adventures are where you find them. On June 5th Naoko, the girls and I headed to Nishiogikubo (西荻窪) near downtown Tokyo for the first Nishiogi Kokeshi Matsuri (西荻こけし祭り). We found out about the event through a Japanese kokeshi blog, but didn't really know what to expect. Naoko did know, however, that there would be some "kokeshi goods" available. Kokeshi goods, as can be seen in some of the photos below, are kokeshi-inspired crafts of various sorts -- a fun sub-culture within the world of kokeshis. We bought a few of those of course, and not surprisingly there were kokeshis available for sale, both new and used. We came home with two beautiful ones: A humorous Togatta (遠刈田) and a striking Naruko (鳴子) -- see photo. I must say that there was a really nice feeling at this "festival". Kokeshi lovers, it turns out, are a very pleasant group of people. There was a presentation of some sort later in the day -- hence the chairs in the photo -- but we weren't able to stay for that. Overall, a grade-A kokeshi adventure!

There were lots of people -- many more than were expected.
Checking out some kokeshi goods.
Display and kokeshi artwork, possibly by manga artist Sakura Momoko (さくらももこ).
Kokeshis for sale.
More kokeshis for sale.
Kokeshi fans at one of the tables.
Honest to goodness kokeshi-inspired record album artwork from the old days. The guy displaying these acutally had a working record player, which was new to my kids.
Our two newest kokeshis. The chubby one on the left is a Togatta, and the one on the right is a Naruko. Both are small.
Kokeshi-inspired stickers, some of which remind me of the old Nancy comic strip.
Kokeshi goods.
Brochures for visiting kokeshi-making areas in northeastern Japan.
A kokeshi fan made this pamphlet -- 50 yen -- in order to help fellow connoisseurs find all 25 kokeshi makers in the Naruko onsen area.  
A kokeshi-inspired tenugui (てぬぐい), a light hand towel. Some of the sale's proceeds went to support disaster relief in the Tohoku area.
Another kokeshi-inspired tenugui. As with the one above, some of the proceeds went to support disaster relief in the Tohoku area.
What American can resist a t-shirt, especially one that has all eleven of Japan's kokeshi families on it?

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