Greetings fellow kokeshi enthusiasts. I am now back in Japan after my big desert adventure with the Togatta kokeshi. It certainly is nice to be home in the land of kokeshis!
We opened up them up to see what they looked like, and they were just like the photo on the machine. One was a Hijiori style 肘折系 kokeshi, and the other was a Nambu style 南部系 kokeshi. And then we noticed where they were made. Not in Japan by a kokeshi craftsman, no. China. While Takara-Tomy undoubtedly made a deal with the kokeshi makers (or at least I hope it did), I was completely appalled. Kokeshis are a Japanese art that is hand made by individual craftsmen, not some faceless Chinese peasant working in a sweatshop with absolutely no connection to the craft of tradition.
This is the first time I've seen Chinese-made "kokeshis" so I'm not terribly concerned that we're seeing a trend. However, these things are not just an insult -- they show how easy it would be to bring in Chinese-made fakes and sell them as the real thing. I am sorry to have to have shown these things on a blog dedicated to kokeshis and their makers, but I wanted to let all that read this blog to know about this and to be aware. Basically, if you're going to spend your money on kokeshis then buy the real thing!
|The girls finally got to buy something from one of these vending machines. Hurray!|
|The kokeshis came out in their very own plastic container.|
|Don't be fooled by these smiling faces.|