Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tokyo Kokeshi Friends Association Meeting 3 東京こけし友の会3

Milling around before the meeting.
Mr. Suzuki Akira speaking to the group.
Mr. Nishiyama also said a few words.
On 22 January Naoko and I attended the first Tokyo Kokeshi Friends Association meeting of the year. This was the third meeting I've gone to, and once again it was lots of fun. I really enjoy beng with other kokeshi enthusiasts. Surprisingly, there were 107 people in attendance, versus the 80-85 that usually show up, so we really had to squeeze into the room. The meeting was also special in the sense that two traditional kokeshi makers joined us -- Mr. Suzuki Akira 鈴木明さん from Akiu Onsen 秋保温泉 near Sendai City, and Mr. Nishiyama Toshihiko 西山敏彦さん from Tsuchiyu Onsen 土湯温泉 in Fukushima Prefecture in the mountains west of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster. Mr. Suzuki makes Sakunami 作並系 style kokeshis, while Mr. Nishiyama makes Tsuchiyu kokeshis 土湯系, and each attendee received one of each.  They both spoke briefly, and then we heard about how certain kokeshi makers are doing and learned of the passing of a couple of older craftsmen. After that we got to the kokeshis available for the drawing, and unlike previous meetings I've attended there were no used kokeshis -- every one was new. Ironically, even though today's crowd was 20% larger than other meetings, the selection was much smaller than in the past! As a result there were some serious moments of kokeshi-induced tension as we waited to hear our numbers being called since Naoko had her heart set on getting at least one kokeshi by Mr. Abe Shin'ya 阿部進矢さん. After the drawing members who had perfect attendance in 2011 received a special commemorative ejiko kokeshi, and then another drawing was held to give away a large number of kokeshis donated by various craftsman (I actually won a wooden New Year's dragon made by a Naruko craftsman). Overall, we had a great time, as did everyone else it seemed. Was this a kokeshi adventure? 
These are the two I received today. The one on the left is a Nishiyama, and the one on the right is a Suzuki.
Naoko's Nishiyama and Suzuki.
We picked up a copy of the latest issue of Kokeshi Jidai magazine. 
There were 15 Abe Shin'ya kokeshis available. Naoko was delighted, but would our numbers be picked early enough to perhaps get one? 
More kokeshis available for the drawing.
Mr. Suzuki brought these tiny ejiko kokeshis.
The kokeshis available for the first drawing.
The yellow ejiko kokeshis were for the members who had perfect meeting attendance in 2011.
These were given away in a secondary drawing and included the address of the makers  on the attached cards so that the winners could write thank you letters. I won the dragon in the middle.
More kokeshis for the secondary drawing.
This one was fantastic!
Court noble kokeshis -- apparently for Girls' Day.
I was number 79, and Naoko was 78. Naoko was picked about two fifths of the way through, while my number was picked towards the end.
And what do you know? We managed to get two beautiful kokeshis by Abe Shin'ya. Mission accomplished!

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