Friday, September 12, 2014

Sato Kokeshis in Tama City 多摩市の佐藤こけし

Yesterday Naoko drove to Tama City 多摩市 in western Tokyo to see kokeshi maker Mr. Sato Yasuhiro 佐藤康広さん from Sendai City. We met Mr. Sato a couple of years ago at a traditional crafts show up in Sendai, and also visited his father Mr. Sato Masahiro 佐藤正廣さん at their riverside workshop. The Satos are of the Togatta kokeshi school 遠刈田系こけし, and their work is exquisite as you'll see in the photos below. Naoko chatted with Mr. Sato for about 30 minutes and found out that he had done a show in Ueno in downtown Tokyo before this one, and it was very successful. Naoko also reported that there weren't a lot of people while she was at the venue, but I'm sure things picked up later in the day. If you're in the Tokyo area and would like to visit Mr. Sato, he is doing this show as part of a traditional Japanese crafts event 日本工芸職人展 at the Tama Keio Department Store in Seiseki-Sakuragaoka 聖蹟桜ヶ丘、京王百貨店. The show will continue through 17 September, though I'm not sure if Mr. Sato brought enough kokeshis for all those days!
Here are some of Naoko's photos of what she saw.
Naturally Naoko purchased a couple of kokeshis, including a tiny ejiko kokeshi えじここけし which represents a baby in a basket. That method of child care was a tradition among Japanese farmers in the old days, and kept alive today through the art of kokeshi makers. She also got to see Mr. Sato do some work on the portable lathe he brought with him.
Here is Naoko's new ejiko kokeshi.
Mr. Sato brought a small lathe with him for doing demonstrations.
Mr. Sato prefers to sign his kokeshis with ink from an ink stone -- pretty cool.
Signing Naoko's new ejiko kokeshi.
As we can see Naoko had a very nice kokeshi adventure right in her own back yard! Ah yes, of special interest are the two kokeshis below. These were for display purposes only, as Mr. Sato did them by request for another venue. What's unique is that they are painted with indigo, Japan's traditional blue dye. Apparently it's not an easy material to work with, so I don't think we're going to see too many indigo kokeshis out there, but they certainly are handsome.


  1. Thanks for the info! I won't miss this chance and go there today!

  2. It was a very nice trip to Tama city! I bought 2 kokeshi from Mr. Sato Yasuhiro and 1 kokeshi made by his father. It was very nice to meet Mr. Sato Yasuhiro and see him at work (and buy the freshly made kokeshi)! The indigo kokeshi was indeed very nice! If you want one check out this site: ;)