Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Shizukuishi Kokeshi 雫石こけし

While traveling south from Aomori we decided to cut across Iwate Prefecture on the way to Akita Prefecture and see Lake Tazawa 田沢湖 and the old samurai town Kakunodate 角館. On the way we stopped at the Shizukuishi Anekko Michi no Eki 雫石あねっこ道の駅 to take a break and lo and behold there were a bunch of unexpected kokeshis!

The craftsman is somebody named Mr. Ito 伊東さん from Shizukuishi Town and he makes Anekko Kokeshis あねっここけし named after the area. I've never heard of Mr. Ito and he doesn't appear in the kokeshi craftsmen guide, so he's an outsider I guess. I would say his work is somewhere between a traditional kokeshi and a modern kokeshi. 
Most of the kokeshis for sale were perfectly white with red and black coloring, which is a striking combination. I thought they were quite nice actually, but in the end we didn't get one. Oh well. There were also some unpainted kokeshis, which is of course the Iwate style.

An explanation of the Shizukuishi Anekko Kokeshi tradition which started about 45 years ago.

This was the river behind the Michi no Eki. It's really beautiful up in Iwate.
As we drove to the Japan Sea in Akita Prefecture there weren't any kokeshi makers to visit despite Akita being a traditional kokeshi area. However, later in the trip I did spot two bona fide Kijiyama kokeshis 木地山系こけし at yet another Michi no Eki. I didn't catch the craftsman's name, but it was nice to see them there.
Frankly, we weren't really looking for kokeshis on this leg of our trip, but we found some nonetheless.

1 comment:

  1. cool to see the traditional Shizukuishi costume design here- this is the town I lived in for a number of years! my hometown :) -Jason