Saturday, October 19, 2013

Michinoku Kokeshi Festival Begins みちのくこけし祭のスタート

The みちのく祭 Michinoku Matsuri in Yamagata City started on 5 October, and we arrived there later in the afternoon after having attended a kokeshi lecture in Sendai that morning (I'll discuss that event in an upcoming blog). Kokeshi festivals are very visual so I'll let the pictures below do the explaining, but I will say that it was a fantastic event and would recommend that overseas and Japan-based enthusiasts attend it if possible. It really is a great opportunity to pick up lots of new kokeshis, see friends, and meet some craftsmen. You can even make a kokeshi on a lathe. Because the event took place in Yamagata I would say that there was an emphasis on 山形系こけし Yamagata-style kokeshis,  though there were all types available including some 肘折系こけし Hijioris and 南部系こけし Nambus which one rarely sees for sale.
Some Hijiori kokeshis. This was the first time I had ever seen new ones for sale.

The Yamagata-style kokeshi table.
The Yajiro-style kokeshi table.
The Naruko-style kokeshi table.
The Nambu-style kokeshi table. Actually, there were only a couple available right next to the banner.

Naoko got a tiny たこ坊主 Takobozu kokeshi. Hurray!

Lena and Emily making kokeshis, and being trained by a craftsman.
Lena and Emily being photographed while working on their kokeshis.
Here's Lena at the lathe. Her striping ability shows great promise. 
The 津軽系こけしTsugaru-style kokeshi table. 

Yes, you absolutely need a shopping basket at the kokeshi festival. 

NHK News was at the event getting video and interviewing attendees. 
And later in the evening I happened to be watching NHK and they ran the story. Here's an image of the news story that I took off the TV screen in my hotel room. That actually looks better than my photos above!
Overall, it was a great kokeshi event, but things were just getting started and soon after the floor closed a banquet with the kokeshi makers and enthusiasts began. I'll write on that event next. Of course we came back the next day to the floor to see what was new, and to say goodbye to our friends. I'll talk about that as well in an upcoming blog.

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