Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Kokeshi column Vol.1

What do you think about KOKESHI Dolls?

Before asking this question, I’d better ask THIS question.

Have you ever heard the word “KOKESHI Dolls”?

Most of people who live on this planet haven’t heard this word.
(except Japanese and collectors.)

KOKESHI Dolls are Japanese wooden dolls.
There are so many kinds.
They are one of authorized traditional hand crafts by government.
That means we must hand down them to coming generations.

You can find KOKESHI Dolls at some souvenir shops in Japan.
(Sadly, not all souvenir shops.)
Maybe there are some Japanese shops in your hometown.
I don’t think they sell them now.

What is KOKESHI Dolls?
Why KOKESHI Dolls were born?
Where KOKESHI Dolls were born?
How KOKESHI Dolls were made and what for?

There are many questions that I have to answer.

I think you know Teddy Bears.
They are also dolls but there are really popular all over the world.
There are so many fans.
I didn’t know but there is JAPAN TEDDY BEAR ASSOCIATION.

KOKESHI Dolls were born before Teddy Bear.
KOKESHI Dolls are handmade dolls one by one like Teddy Bear.
Why can’t KOKESHI Dolls become as popular as Teddy Bears?

Actually, there are enthusiastic collectors all over the world.
If you know about KOKESHI Dolls, I’m sure you will love them.

I will talk a little about some of features of KOKESHI Dolls.

KOKESHI Dolls are the simplest Dolls in the world.
They have just head and body.
(Some of them have hands or feet but some of them are just made from single part)
Then artists paint faces or body designs.
Artists need not only this skill of scrape a wood but also painting.

KOKESHI Dolls are divided into 2 major categories.
“DENTO (Traditional) KOKESHI Dolls” and “SOUSAKU (Creative) Kokeshi Doll”

DENTO KOKESHI Dolls has rules to make.
Artists regard tradition very highly.
There are 11 types of DENTO KOKESHI Dolls.

On the other hand, SOUSAKU KOKESHI Dolls don’t have any rules.
Artists can express their ideas very freely.
Some SOUSAKU KOKESHI Dolls regard as art than dolls.

I think you cannot understand what the KOKESHI Dolls are yet.
In this section, I will give you some information about KOKESHI Dolls.

I will visit the birth place of KOKESHI Dolls.
I will also talk with artists.
"Kokeshi columns" carries these stories too.

I will do my best to answer previous questions and fulfill our mission.
I hope you will know about KOKESHI Dolls even a little.

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