Saturday, October 11, 2014

New Kokeshi Book 新しいこけしの本

When we were up at Naruko Onsen last month we bought an important new book on the history  of kokeshis. Its title is (my translation) A Soothing Smile: The Tohoku Kokeshi Story 癒しの微笑み東北こけしの話 written by Mr. Takahashi Goro 高橋五郎さん. Last year Naoko and I attended Mr. Takahashi's talk on the origin of kokeshis at the Kamei Museum in Sendai, and he showed the group some really old kokeshis he had found that were helping him to put the pieces together of how and when the kokeshi tradition started. On top of that between Oct 2012 and March 2014 Mr. Takahashi wrote 77 weekly newspaper articles about his research that appeared in the Kahoku Shinpo 河北新報 newspaper, and those articles were compiled for this book. I've shown the cover and a few pages below.
The cover of A Soothing Smile.

One very interesting page in the book is this map showing the spread of traditional kokeshis throughout Tohoku first starting in Sakunami Onsen and Togatta Onsen. This is really a useful map!  
Of course I highly recommend this book even for those who don't read Japanese. At 270 pages it's inexpensive (1,600 yen), and the numerous full color photos of some amazingly old kokeshis make it well worth the price. The book isn't available yet on Amazon Japan, but I'm sure it will be soon.

1 comment:

  1. Dear John
    we started a kokeshi gallery in facebook
    maybe you find the time to join us?

    ganbatte Tohoku !