Monday, February 27, 2012

52nd Annual All Gunma Modern Kokeshi Show 第52回全群馬近代こけしコンクール

As a kokeshi enthusiast I must admit that I prefer traditional kokeshis to their better known (at least among Americans and other foreigners) brethren, the so-called modern kokeshis 近代こけし. Nonetheless, if you've been following this blog for the last year then you know that I occasionally do stories on modern kokeshis and have a definite appreciation for them. Last last February I wrote on the All Gunma Modern Kokeshi Show in Maebashi City, Gunma, and since it was really great we decided to return again this year to see what the modern kokeshi craftsmen have been up to. We were definitely not disappointed! The event is basically a competition among modern kokeshi makers who create in two distinct categories: Shinkei 新系 (New Type), and Sosaku  創作 (Creative). Both of these categories vary wildly, though in my opinion shinkei are more like the kokeshis one sees for sale in gift shops at Narita Airport or other tourist spots, while sosaku kokeshis are effectively sculptures and are most likely one of a kind pieces. All of them, however, are wonderful expressions of the craftsmen's creative minds, and the sosaku kokeshis should probably be seen as art objects as opposed to folk art which is the category in which I would place traditional kokeshis. 
There was a large selection of modern kokeshis for sale, and yes we bought a couple including the small white one picture on the event poster above. For the sake of expediency I'm just going to post a number of pictures without explanation to give an inkling of the amazing variety on display at the show. Believe me, these photos barely scratch the surface -- there was a lot to see! The ones with wooden signs in front of them were award winners of one type or another.
Kokeshi lovers, I highly recommend attending this event in 2013. It's a kokeshi adventure you won't soon forget.    
Like last year, the show was held in the spectacular Maebashi City municipal building.


There were a few dioramas like this. Pretty interesting.

Modern kokeshi cell phone straps. Innovative!

Some of the kokeshis for sale.
More kokeshis for sale. The realistic faces on these were pretty interesting, though I'm not sure I'm too fond of them.
There was a make-your-own kokeshi table for the kids. I swear that these three worked on their kokeshis for at least one hour, but maybe 90 minutes.

No comments:

Post a Comment