Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mr. Kojima Toshiyuki 小島俊幸さん

The other day, Mr. Kojima Toshiyuki, a kokeshi craftsman of the Tsugaru tradition from Kuroishi City in Aomori Prefecture passed away at the relatively young age of 64. Kokeshi makers typically seem to live to a ripe old age, so this was a something of a shock. The Tsugaru Kokeshi Kan 津軽こけし館 wrote a nice eulogy about him on its daily blog (in Japanese).
Sadly Naoko and I never got to meet Mr. Kojima during our adventures in Aomori, but after learning of his death Naoko pulled the only Kojima we have in our collection. It's now on special display in remembrance of him. Below is Mr. Kojima's page in the latest Kokeshi Craftmen's handbook so you can see what he looked like. I've also included a shot of our one Kojima kokeshi, a beautiful little vase-shaped cherub with a peaceful smile and serene eyes.

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