Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fall through Winter Kokeshi Festivals 秋から冬へのこけし祭

A reader wrote asking about this year's Michinoku Kokeshi Festival みちのくこけしまつり in Yamagata City, and there are probably many people interested to know when and where it's occurring. This festival is considered to be one of the big three annual kokeshi festivals so it's well worth attending. The only problem is that it is not really being advertised yet, and it took me a while to find a source that provides a date and location. According to the Japan Travel and Tourism Association web site (link is Japanese language) this year's festival is December 3rd and 4th at the Yamagata Big Wing 山形ビッグウイング convention center. When my family and I attended the festival it was in October at the Nana Beans Building, so this is a change. Sorry, no poster, at least not yet. When I find out more information I'll be sure to announce it in an upcoming blog.
Meanwhile, the Tokyo Kokeshi Tomo no Kai has announced a number of upcoming kokeshi events on its web site that I would recommend checking out (Japanese language only):
Here are some highlights.
14-15 October 2016: The 29th Annual National Traditional Kokeshi Craftsman Festival 第29回全国伝統こけし工人フェスティバル held at the Tsugaru Kokeshi Kan 津軽こけし館 in Kuroishi City, Aomori Prefecture. It's a free event, and there is a poster available below. Click here to go to the Tsugaru Kokeshi Kan web site which has more info on this and other upcoming events.

1 October through 27 November 2016: The Cute Kokeshi Exhibit KAWAIこけし展 at the Yokohama Doll Museum in Yokohama City. This looks fantastic, and for anyone living in the Kanto area this is a great opportunity. The cost is 200 yen for adults and 100 yen for kids. Please see the poster below and click here for further details (Japanese language).

For those who can attend the above events please enjoy them for those of us outside of Japan!

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.