Of course, this book is about kokeshi, but it is moreso about the people and culture of Tohoku, their heart and spirit, and their warmth -- that is what makes a kokeshi what it is.
Even though they went through such an enormous tragedy with the 3/11 tsunami, I felt I was getting healed, and learning life lessons of them. I really appreciate every visit I make up there, the combination of the people's kindness, the nature and the culture is a really rejuvenating and inspiring.
Thank you so much Bento Box and Michelle m(_ _)m
Okazaki focuses on the production of Kokeshi, traditional handmade wooden dolls known for their lack of arms and legs and their charming painted faces. Kokeshi disciples spend a decade training to become official artisans, and because each doll is custom made with the greatest care, the process of ordering a doll to getting one in hand can take months. Kokeshi artisan numbers have dwindled since the advent of mass-produced, disposable plastic toys, but there’s currently a boom in interest among collectors who appreciate the Kokeshi’s craftsmanship and durability, and the rich beauty that each doll gains with age.
The photos also give us a glimpse into the workshops of contemporary Kokeshi artisans, and a step-by-step explanation of their process, transforming untreated wood (dogwood, camellia, painted maple, melon maple, zelkova and cherry, to name a few) into delicately painted Kokeshi dolls.
Of course, you don’t have to be an artist to appreciate the book. Okazaki includes resources for people who are interested in travelling to Tohoku to get their hands on a Kokeshi, as well as instructions for those who want to order one from abroad. One chapter lays out the directions to famous hot spring towns and museums where Kokeshi dolls are made, complete with an adorable illustrated map of the famous artistic and cultural symbols of Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima Prefectures. The nal chapters are devoted to introducing Tohoku’s famous hot springs and raucous culture festivals, an ideal primer for anyone planning to visit the region in the near future.