Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yokohama Kokeshi Event こけしイベントin横浜

As Naoko, the girls and I were wrapping up our time in Japan at the end of 2014 we had a flurry of kokeshi adventures, some up in Tohoku, with others closer to Tokyo. I'll show pictures of those events over the next few blog entries, starting with our very last kokeshi adventure on 29 November 2014. We did not know that this would be the end of our Japan-based kokeshi'ing before moving to California which I guess makes it a bittersweet memory, but it was still a very pleasant day. We had spent the morning in Yokohama's Chinatown with family, and then walked over to the kokeshi event where we saw friends from the Tokyo Kokeshi Friends Association 東京こけし友の会 and also got to talk with three kokeshi makers.
The Yokohama Doll Museum building -- very impressive, and in a great location down near the waterfront.
The event was called the Naruko Kokeshi Festival 鳴子こけしまつり held at the Yokohama Doll Museum 横浜人形の家 on 29 and 30 November, and all three kokeshi makers were from Naruko Onsen 鳴子温泉. I think the event planners had the right idea to focus on just one type of traditional kokeshi and keep things small and manageable.
The poster for the Naruko Kokeshi Festival.
We actually had to pay to go into the museum, and from there went into the kokeshi venue that was inside the main museum. I don't think having to pay was a hindrance since there were plenty of people enjoying the kokeshis when we were there, but perhaps more would have come if it had been a free event.
The hall leading into the main kokeshi room had this nice display.
Upon entering the main room was this display of the championship kokeshis from the recent 60th All Japan Kokeshi Festival 全日本こけし祭り in Naruko.
A Naruko kokeshi lantern in the foreground, and Naruko kokeshi art on the wall in the background.
For those new to the world of kokeshis there were some displays containing all the traditional kokeshi types along the entryway into the main venue. Inside the main hall were tables filled with Naruko kokeshis crafted by the following kokeshi makers who had come down to Yokohama from Naruko: Mr. Takahashi Yoshikazu 高橋義一さん, Mr. Kakizawa Yoshinobu 柿澤是伸さん, and Mr. Onuma Hideaki 大沼秀顯さん. They all do wonderful work, and it was a pleasure seeing what they had to offer. Enjoy the photos.
A couple of very innovative large kokeshis.
The kokeshi craftsmen milled around the room chatting with fans.
Mr. Onuma's table.
A closeup view of Mr. Onuma's table.
Some of Mr. Takahashi's creations.
Some of the pieces were quite pricey, but I've concluded that even with a higher price tag the craftsmen are not getting rich from selling kokeshis.
Mr. Kakizawa's table.
Another angle of Mr. Kakizawa's table.
Guests paid for the kokeshis at the front desk where there were also t-shirts and posters available. 
There were also kendamas 剣玉 for the kids to play with.
Mr. Takahashi demonstrating his craftsmanship on a portable lathe. It is always fun to see kokeshi masters at work like this.
And that was that, and I think the Yokohama Doll Museum did a great job with the event. Perhaps they will even consider some sort of permanent kokeshi exhibit at the museum in the future? Naturally we came home with some very nice kokeshis that turned out to be the final addition to our kokeshi collection before we packed up and moved to the US.

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