Monday, August 31, 2015

2014 Michinoku Kokeshi Festival Winners 2014 みちのくこけしまつり入賞作品

Continuing our adventure to the 2014 Michinoku Kokeshi Festival in Yamagata City, I have posted below a series of photos showing the winning kokeshis. It turns out that the ones on display were actually the winners from 2013, something I only realized as I was preparing to post this blog entry. Regardless, as I noted in a previous blog this and the other major annual competitions are a big deal for the craftsmen. For us enthusiasts, we get to see and photograph the pieces that the craftsmen submitted as what they believe to be their very best work. 
The main hall with the winning kokeshis along the left wall.
The competition judges range from the prime minister of Japan, to various national and prefectural ministries, newspaper and media companies, etc. It's likely that these people are not kokeshi experts or even enthusiasts, so they probably choose what they like in terms of the craftsmanship and simply what they enjoy looking at. If you think about it that's undoubtedly a good way to do it since the judges wouldn't be swayed by a famous name or particular type of kokeshi.
I just noticed as I was preparing this photo that, according to the sign on the wall, the winning pieces on display were actually the winners from 2013.
The rest of the photos show the winning kokeshis, the names of the craftsmen, and the prizes won. It's all in Japanese but I'm not going to translate them since it would take too much time. If a reader has any questions about these kokeshis and the award they received just leave a comment below.
The Michinoku Kokeshi Festival competition also includes wooden toys. I'm not particularly interested in these but I can appreciate the craftsmanship that went into making them. Here are a few pictures of some winning pieces that were on display.
So that's what we saw at the 2014 Michinoku Kokeshi Festival. It's obviously not as festive or crazy as the National Kokeshi Festival at Naruko Onsen, but it's an major event and a great opportunity to meet kokeshi makers, greet fellow collectors, and add a variety of new pieces to one's collection. This year's event looks like it will occur on November 7th and 8th, but I haven't been able to find any solid information about it yet. That said, if you are a kokeshi enthusiast and will be in Japan in early November then by all means try to get up to Yamagata for this festival.

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