Two Big Kokeshi Lovers Meet in Sendai
This is ariTV’s Akiu crew Chigusa!
The other day, at the Museum of Kamei Collection in Sendai’s Aoba Ward, a talk event featuring kokeshi dolls was held.
The guests of the event were Genki Numata, the founder of kokeshi magazine “Kokeshi Jidai” and Emiko Kawamura who is a big kokeshi lover as well as a comedian of comic duo Tanpopo.
During the event, the venue was often filled with laughter. Also sometime audiences are encouraged to think about Tōhoku’s culture. It was meaningful time.
By the way, what kind of image do you have on Kokeshi?
Scary or ugly?
I need to tell that kokeshi has nothing to do with child murder as some say. All those gloomy stories are made up. However, when they are on everybody’s lips, they begin to sound true, but they are not!
We asked Mr Numata and Ms Kawamura about what kokeshi meant to them.
Ms Kawamura’s answer was “there’s no same kokeshi even among ones made by the same artisan. I love the moment when I meet one-of-a-kind kokeshi. There’s a moment suddenly I meet their gaze.”
After saying ”there’s not enough time (to thoroughly explain),” Mr Numata pointed out that “Kokeshi has the face of Japanese beauty. ” More than a little, crafters reflect faces of their spouses or longing persons on their works. “ He also told that kokeshi dolls were age-old products and their smiles with warmth of trees make people relax.
Mr Numata launched Kokeshi Jidai Magazin following the Great East Japan Earthquake to support affected regions.
In old days, kokeshi was found in every household. They never turn their faces and keep looking straight ahead with a benign smile.
“As I’m from Tōhoku myself, I think people feel relaxed when they see kokeshi” Mr Numata said.
At the time of the disaster, he asked himself what he was able to do?
Mr Numata calls himself as a poemgrapher, decided to tell the situation of Tōhoku with his beloved kokeshi.
“It’s most truthful to tell with what you love when you want to convey something.”
Besides Kokeshi Jidai, Mr Numata initiated the Save Japan Kokeshi Smile Project to deliver kokeshi to children in affected areas as a toy and to support kokeshi crafters.
Ms Kawamura enthusiastically said that she wanted to be a comedian like kokeshi who please and make people happy with smiles that accept everyone in any circumstance.
She believes that in show business it’s important to have a place where you can go back and to stick to your core values. This is true of kokeshi, too. Kokeshi has a history and she hopes kokeshi production continues with its own local characteristic.
I’m glad to hear a person from Tokyo think that way!
Ms Numata combined kokeshi dolls with Matryshka doll to develop novel Koke-shka and has opened a store in Kamakura, Kanagawa＾＾！
Those are works only Numata who is half russian and half Japanese can create (^＾).
Many kokeshi are displayed at the Museum of Kamei Collection.
Drop by and check them out!