Sunday, February 24, 2013

2013 Hina Kokeshis 2013の雛こけし

I'll get back to our big Miyagi trip in an upcoming blog, but I had to mention that right now it's Hina (雛祭りGirl's Festival) time in Japan and traditional kokeshi makers are continuing to make inroads in that area. Last year at this same time I showed a few that we had gotten, and in my opinion they're a really nice alternative to the traditional Hina dolls that are regular dolls with clothing and hair. Well, the other day I came home and Naoko had these two beauties below on display in the living room, so our Hina kokeshi collection is growing! These are Takobozu たこ坊主 kokeshis, a sub-category of Tsuchiyi-style kokeshis 土湯系こけし from Fukushima Prefecture. Takobozus are easy to identify since they always have red around their large, wide-open eyes, suggesting that the kokeshis are either very tired or overworked. They also typically have a large flower pattern on them in liue of stripes. As you can see the craftsman Mr. Ishikawa Isao 石川功さん has retained all of the Takobozu motifs on these Hinas, including the Tsuchiyu bullseye pattern on the top of the head of one on the right.

Here's Mr. Ishikawa's signature. It also says "75 years," which is how old he was when he made this. The three kanji on the right say Inawashiro 猪苗代, the village in Fukushima where Mr. Ishikawa is from.
By the way, if you're up in Aomori Precture between now and 17 March then try to stop by the Tsugaru Kokeshi Kan 津軽こけし館 in Kuroishi City where a Hina Kokeshi exhibition is currently on-going. Here's a close-up of the poster, and you can get more info at the Tsugaru Kokeshi Kan's web site (in Japanese).
 Happy Girl's Day!

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