Monday, September 26, 2016

Kokeshi Jidai 13 こけし時代13号

Greetings fellow kokeshi fans. I have been away from doing this blog for a while, but am back and am looking forward to discussing all things kokeshi from our home in the Bay Area, California. Meanwhile, Naoko was in Japan for the summer and observed that the traditional kokeshi world is still going strong in 2016. This is good news for the kokeshi craftsmen and everyone who loves the result of their hard work. I'll pass along more of what she saw in some upcoming blog entires.

While in Japan Naoko was also able to get the latest edition of Kokeshi Jidai magazine, which is now up to issue 13 that came out in April 2016. We missed issue 12, so we'll have to order that soon before it's sold out. Most kokeshi fans in Japan probably already have this issue, but those living in foreign countries might not know that it's available. Therefore I've provided a few images of the inside of the magazine so you'll know what to expect if you're thinking of purchasing it.
The front cover of issue 13 is actually a thin layer of real wood glued to the paper cover. Beautiful.
The focus of this issue is Hijiori kokeshis 肘折こけし from Hijiori Onsen in Yamagata Prefecture. I've always liked this kokeshi family since the lips are painted realistically making the kokeshis quite striking. As always there are plenty of articles on the kokeshi craftsmen, individual kokeshis, and local hot springs (onsens) that make me want to get back to northern Japan.

Besides the articles on kokeshi and hot baths there's an article about a couple in Finland whose folk art is inspired by kokeshis, a report on kokeshi fans in Osaka, and three articles about kokeshi collectors. I was very interested to see how others display their kokeshi collections, such as what we can see in the image above.
The back cover of issue 13.
I love Kokeshi Jidai magazine and am always happy when a new issue comes out. This issue was 2,500 yen (about $25 US) which isn't cheap, but its nearly 290 pages on high quality paper. Of course if you're an enthusiast then you'll understand why it's really a bargain.


  1. Hi John - Missed your blog! Me and my kokeshis are now living in the UK but I'm planning a trip back to Japan soon - love reading your updates!

    1. Thanks Victoria, and I hope you get back to Japan soon! I am certainly looking forward to my next trip back there.