Monday, July 23, 2012

July Friends of Kokeshis Meeting 7月こけし友の会

On Sunday, 22 July Naoko and I made our usual trek to Kanda for the Tokyo Friends of Kokeshis meeting 東京こけし友の会. We had a great time, saw our friends, and of course picked up some really nice vintage kokeshis at very fair prices. Overall, a very pleasant Tokyo-based kokeshi adventure!

We took the Seibu-Ikebukuro line for the first leg of the trip. The train was quite full, even in the middle of a Sunday.
When we got to Kanda we found this thin little building which has nothing to do with kokeshis. It's just cool and the sort of thing one sees sometimes in Tokyo. I think many full-sized Americans would likely struggle in a building like this...
As always we received a welcome kokeshi with the entrance fee (or I sould say, there's probably an entrance fee because there's a kokeshi involved). The kokeshis this time were Nambu-style 南部系こけし from Iwate Prefecture 岩手県 made by Ms. Tayama Izumi, 田山和泉さん a 30-year old craftsman from Morioka City 盛岡市. Beautiful work, and since one rarely sees Nambu kokeshis these somehow feel rare.

Discussion of news and events at the opening of the meeting.
There were new kokeshis available for the buying part of the meeting. From left to right, Yajiros, Togattas, Narukos, and Tsugarus. Interestingly, the Tsugarus were by Mr. Kitayama Moriharu 北山盛治さん whom we met just a couple of weeks ago during our big summer kokeshi adventure. What a coincidence, and blogs will be forthcoming about that trip.
Some of the vintage kokeshis up for sale. Naoko wanted the little Nambu in the front (the unpainted one with red around the neck just above the green bottle in the foreground). However, someone else whose number was chosen before Naoko's snatched it up.
New kokeshis with wooden rings around their middles. I wasn't sure what these were for, but they were gone by the end of the meeting.
More of the sale kokeshis. Lots of good stuff in there, and it seemed that most were about 1,000 yen or less.
An NHK director was at the meeting working on a story.
Naoko during the buying portion of the meeting: "John, is this the one you wanted?"
A shot taken during the buying frenzy. Fortunately Japanese people are polite and patient, so it always goes smoothly.
Two new additions to our collection. The small one on the left is a Nambu by Mr. Sasaki Kakuhei 佐々木覚平さん, and the one on the right is a Tsuchiyu-type kokeshi 土湯系こけし from the Sabako area of Fukushima Prefecture.
Close up of the Tsuchiyu -- perfect, refined lines for the face. 
We also got this terrific Hijiyori-type kokeshi 肘折系こけし by Mr. Sato Shoichi 佐藤昭一さん. His pieces are typically very expensive, so this was a good deal.
Another Tsuchiyu by, Naoko believes, Mr. Watanabe Tadao 渡辺忠雄さん. I really liked the face on this one.
See, this is a really handsome face!
This little beauty is an unusual Togatta-type kokeshi, one done with a dark wood.
We also got this cool binder for the Tomo no Kai's monthly journal. That color is definitely puce, a color we just don't see enough of.
After the kokeshi buying frenzy (for round two everything was 50% off) we saw a slide show of the Friends of Kokeshi's recent adventure up to Yamagata and Sendai. That was a real treat.
The last event was a rock-scissors-paper contest for about eight giant kokeshis such as this one. We were wondering how the winner was going to get this behemoth home on the train.
Naoko talking with a fellow enthusiast after the meeting. Note his cool kokeshi t-shirt from the Tsugara Kokeshi Museum.

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