Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Kokeshi-making Video こけしを作るビデオ

A friend back in the US posted a link to a beautiful video by Tetotetote 手とてとテ via the Colossal web site showing Naruko craftsman Mr. Okazaki Yasuo 岡崎靖男さん creating one of his kokeshis. Click here for the video. It's 4:13 long and well worth your time, and Naoko and I agree that it really captures the spirit of kokeshi craftsmanship. The Colossal article states that kokeshis are a 400-year old tradition, but I'm pretty sure that's way off. As I recall reading kokeshis are relatively modern, with research suggesting that the earliest ones likely appeared in the late Edo period and early Meiji (1860s-70s). I'll try to find an exact source for that.
Anyway, we've been to Mr. Okazaki's shop which is right on Naruko's main street and is easy to find, and you should go there too! Naoko bought one of his small kokeshis during a trip there a couple years ago, and it is very nice.
One of our Okazaki kokeshis. It's about 2.5 inches high.
By the way, the Tetotetote web site also has a good English-language article on Miyagi kokeshis, so to read that click here. For those of you who can handle Japanese, there's more on kokeshis at the Tetotetote site here.