*This article was posted on August 28, 2022. These items may be sold out.
The model of traditional kokeshi dolls is basically girls, but in Inawashiro Town, Fukushima Prefecture, kokeshi dolls modeled on boys are rarely made. It is classified as a traditional Kokeshi doll of the Nakanosawa family, and is commonly known as the "Takobozu".
The prototype of Nakanosawa Kokeshi was made by Zenkichi Iwamoto (1877-1934). Even now, excellent works are made by the disciples, and it has become very popular in recent years.
Its appearance is very unique, the area around the eyes is painted red, and it looks grotesque at first glance.
Meanwhile, the octopus priest made by Yoichi Arakawa (1938-) feels a little gentle atmosphere. I visited his home in 2021. He and his wife welcomed our family and treated us with lots of food and tea. I remember they were both kind and easygoing and very comfortable. The Kokeshi doll seems to exude the personality of the craftsman who makes it.
He also makes original octopus Kokeshi dolls called "Natsuno-hi" (=Summer day) and "Kitakaze" (=North wind) . Kitakaze probably imagined a Japanese nursery rhyme called "Kitakaze Kozo no Kantaro". Kokeshi dolls that express the seasons of Japan are my favorite.
The world of traditional Kokeshi dolls has the rigor of inheriting the patterns and techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation, but there is a ground for accepting and enjoying new Kokeshi dolls created by the sensibilities of craftsmen. That forgiveness created the next tradition and probably has evolved to this day.