Sunday, August 5, 2012

Back to the Tsugaru Kokeshi Kan 1 津軽こけし館に戻る 1

After visiting Mr. Shimatsu in Owani Onsen (see previous blog) we drove north to the Tsugaru Kokeshi Kan in Kuroishi to see our friends there. As you'll see in the pictures below, they've been busy stocking the retail area with lots of interesting kokeshis and kokeshi-related items. Although the Kokeshi Kan has a spectacular collection on the second floor, we didn't bother to go up and see them since we already viewed the kokeshis last year.
The highway up to the Kokeshi Kan. We were there on a very pleasant Aomori summer day.
The Kokeshi Kan building. It hasn't changed since last year.
A Kokeshi Kan banner.
Kokeshi lanterns, a Tsugaru specialty.
The main retail area. Most of the items are kokeshi-related,  with some local food items as well.
Another view, this time the wooden toys.
A hina kokeshi display. The Kokeshi Kan had a special exhibition of these unique kokeshis during winter.
Hina kokeshis.
Non-Tsugaru traditional kokeshis.
A set of three beautiful kokeshis by an unknown artist.
Kokeshi books.
Another section of the main area. Those are all Tsugaru kokeshis.
Copies of the excellent Kokeshi Jidai こけし時代 magazine available at the muesum. I'd like to talk about these in an upcoming blog since they're a part of the kokeshi world too. If you can get a hold of these by all means do.
These beauties are Tsugaru-Owani kokeshis by Mr. Hasegawa Kenzo. We met him last year at the Hirosaki Neputa Kan (see blog).
Kokeshis and Darumas by Mr. Shimatsu Seiichi, whom we visited earlier in the day at his workshop in Owani (see previous blog).

All of these are Tsugaru kokeshis.
Some more kokeshis by Mr. Shimatsu.
Believe it or not, kokeshis are measured in traditional Japanese measurements (寸 sun and 尺 shaku) rather than metric.  This measuring stick is therefore based on sun.
I think these are refrigerator magnets.
While at the Kokeshi Kan Tsugaru craftsman Mr. Abo Kanemitsu 阿部金光さん was at the lathe making some of his pieces. One of the cool things about the Kokeshi Kan is that a local craftsman is usually on hand to talk to guests and demonstrate how kokeshis are made. That alone makes it worth the trip.
That's Mr. Abo in the background, with a number of his kokeshis on display.
The Kokeshi Kan's lathe that visiting masters use.
Mr. Abo painting a small army of kokeshis.
See, they're indeed hand-painted. That's one of things that make kokeshis special in my opinion.
Some of Mr. Abo's pieces available in the main area. 530 yen or 740 yen for a handcrafted work like this? Amazing.
As I mentioned in my blog about the Tsugaru Kokeshi Kan last year, this place is an absolue must for kokeshi enthusiasts, so if you get up to Aomori don't even think twice about it. Ah yes, there was one more room of really interesting kokeshi goods for sale in a small wing of the Kokeshi Kan. I'll talk about that in the next blog.
A Tsugaru kokeshi noren, also available at the Kokeshi Kan.

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