Kokeshi (2)


. Kokeshi, こけし / 小芥子 / 子消し wooden doll .
Legends, Folktales, more

Kokeshi (1) こけし
Miyagi prefecture 宮城県のこけし
Hijiori 肘折(ひじおり)こけし
Naruko Hot Spring なるこ温泉のこけし, Narugo
Sakunami 作並のこけし
Togatta (Toogatta) 遠苅田のこけし(とうがった)
Yajiro 弥次郎こけし
- and further links


Kokeshi Wooden Dolls こけし (Part 2)

In part 2 we will look at the kokeshi from Aomori prefecture, especially the Tsugaru area, where many dolls with a Daruma face on the body are made.

Sato San

First I want to introduce you to an All Japanese Kokeshi Event held in October 2002 in Kuroishi, Aomori prefecture, at the Museum mentioned next. There is a wonderful slide show of 46 pictures, many of them with Daruma kokeshi, so take your time while the dolls are passing along. Nrs. 5, 10, 31, 34, 37, 40, 42 and 45 feature Daruma san.


Tsugaru Kokeshi Museum 津軽こけし館

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

More than 4000 kokeshi from all over Japan are exhibited in this museum in Kuroishi. You can also make your own dolls with intstuctions form a master craftsman. The big kokeshi outside is almost 4 meters high and has a Daruma on the body, as you can see on the picture.
There are also some kokeshi painted by the famous woodblock artist Shiko Munakata exhibited.

〒036-0412 黒石市大字袋字富山72番地1号 TEL:0172-54-8181

http://www.jomon.ne.jp/~kkk/k_kokesi.htm (with an explanation of different types in Japanese 日本語のこけしマメ知識もあります)
http://www.tsugarushu.com/sightseeing/midokoro/kokeshi/ (many pictures of the area)http://www.infoaomori.ne.jp/kuroishi_city/Sight_Seeing/Sig_Kokesi_Koujin.html

Shiko Munakata has his own memorial museum in Aomori. This HP has a part in English, so please visit it.


Kokeshi from Nuruyu 温湯温泉のこけし

These kokeshi dolls originate in the hot spring area of Kuroishi City and are the most famous of Aomori prefecture. At the beginning of the Taisho Era (1911-1925), Hidetaroo Mori 盛秀太郎began making these dolls in the "Nuruyu Onsen" area, which enjoy a deep-rooted popularity even now.
There are many types of kokeshi dolls in the Tohoku region, and the Nuruyu stand out from amongst the rest with their "Ainu" patterns, including the upturned eyebrows and menacing "Daruma" faces, painted on the body, as well as the wide chest and rounded waists. The designs on the body of the dolls are also said to be of the Tsugaru clan’s family crest, featuring the peony.
Currently, kokeshi doll artisans have gathered together to form the "Tsugaru Kokeshi Artisans Group," which focuses on continuing to create traditional, and new types, of dolls.

English and Japanese, 日本語はこちら。

Famous Artist from Nuruyu
Hidetaroo Mori (1895 – 1986) 盛秀太郎
He was born and lived all his life in Nuruyu as son of a family of wood craftsmen. He lost both parents at an early age and endured many hardships with his relatives. He started making kokshi with a Daruma on the body, mabye because his family was hit by many misfortunes, his eldest son lost an arm at work, his younger son lost his eyesight and more.


Look at one of his Daruma Kokeshi


Left from Mori Hidetaroo, right from his pupil Okuse


© Collection Saito 佐藤 研 (仙台市)


You can order kokeshi and many other specialities of Aomori on this HP. The small Daruma on the left picture above is available for 2000 Yen, the standing kokeshi with Daruma painted on the body is 4000 Yen.


. Folk Toys from Aomori .


Let me introduce two famous kokeshi makers from the area,
Yoshiki Satoo and Muchihide Abo.

Yoshiki Satoo 佐藤佳樹

He learned the craft from his father Zenji, a rather stern teacher, who told him “Do not think about becoming a famous artist fast, but try to become a master craftsman in due course of time.” Some of his Daruma kokeshi come with feet painted on the bottom but in the beginning his father told him: “It is still too early for such an adventure.”


Triangular Kiji Daruma

師・善二型の 『 じょっぱりだるま(横にらみ) 』 です。物事を色々な角度から見据える心のゆとりを持つという気持ちも込められています.
From his father Zenji's repertoir: Two oogeling Daruma.

There are many more of his kokeshi on this great page.


Muchihide Abo 阿保六知秀
Mr. Abo lives in Kuroishi, close to Hanamaki Town in Aomori prefecture.
When asked about the model for his dolls, he answered: “In the beginning, it was my own face, later that of my wife and right now that of my daughter. But I have the feeling in the end I will be back to my own face”. His teacher was the father of Mr. Satoo.
The colors of his dolls are quite vivid and unusual and the Daruma on the skirt looks quite fierce.
His Daruma in an apple is a typical product of Aomori, which is famous for its large apple plantations. There will be more about Apple-Darumas in a different story.

こけしの顔のモデルはと尋ねたら 「最初は自分の顔で、次に妻の顔、今は娘の顔かな?、最後は自分の顔に戻るかも・・・・・」
〒036-0413 青森県黒石市大字花巻字花巻34-3   TEL: 0172-54-8865

Yellow Daruma

Look at some great collections of his work. There are plenty more Daruma dolls to see, so take your time.


The Hot Spring

His brother is Kanemitsu Abo、another kokeshi craftsman.

The two craftsmen together with others try to make the biggest kokeshi with a Daruma in front of the Tsugaru Kokeshi Museum in Kuroishi, made from a huge Hiba tree. They started in December 2002 and want to finish in April 2003. I hope to follow up on this story.


On the following very interesting HP in Japanese you find a range of Tsugaru kokeshi, mostly with a Daruma painted on the body. I will show you just two of them, but look at the others too.

Three dolls from the late Mr. Mori, with a typical body shape.

A little disheveled lady was made by Mr. Kitayama. 北山盛治作


.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Tsugaru Kokeshiki



Kokeshi from Hirosaki 弘前こけし

The name “Tsugaru Kokeshi” refers to all dolls produced in Kuroishi City, Owani Town, and Hirosaki City. During the Meiji Era (1867-1911), wood carvers from the Tsugaru area met with those from outside of the prefecture, and from those meetings, the kokeshi doll has become what it is today. The Hirosaki kokeshi doll is grouped in with the Tsugaru kokeshi, which stemmed originally from the Owani kokeshi, which is still produced today.
Along with Kokeshi dolls, top making and Daruma figurine production are among the popular woodcrafts, loved by people of the Tsugaru region.
http://www.pref.aomori.jp/dentokougei/h-kokeshi.htm (日本語)



Kokeshi from Owani 大鰐温泉こけし

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

At the beginning of the Meiji Era (1867-1911), artisans living in the Nuruyu Onsen area, where the origin of the Tsugaru kokeshi doll lies, moved to the Owani Onsen area, where they began sawing lumber, which they eventually made into kokeshi dolls during the Taisho Era (1911-1925).
Owani Kokeshi dolls are broad-shouldered, with a straight and slender body, on which an iris pattern is painted. The dolls have an innocent expression, evoking a feeling of warmth. The "zuguri" (tops) were first produced at the same time as the kokeshi dolls, and these colourful toys were much-loved by the children of the northern country.

My Short Story about one Owani Daruma Kokeshi


UTOU Carved Daruma Figures 善知鳥彫ダルマ

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

The "Utou" (Uto) carved Daruma figurines were first created by Katsumi Kon, a strong promoter of the arts in Aomori Prefecture. Inspired by Rodin’s works, he began creating the Darumas in 1921 in order further the production of crafts in the prefecture. The artist named his work after the "uto" bird, which lived in Aomori at that time. These figurines became well known from mid-1945s. They vary from 10 to 50 cm in hight.

They are made from light and flexible poplar and Aomori cypress. A rough piece of wood is cut into a triangular shape, then the face is slightly carved and painted. These Daruma figurines, which seem to stare ahead, are characterized by their lean bodies and red clothing, setting them apart from most Darumas that have chubby faces and round bodies. Their appearance suggests that of Buddhist enlightenment, in which they have emerged from meditation and are about to step on to a higher path.
Pieces of wood that have naturally broken off from trees are used to produce these sculptures to create a unique work of art.


. Folk Toys from Aomori .

Aomori Dentoo Koogei
The above information comes from a HP about Traditional Crafts in Aomori. You might like to explore this a little more, since the site has English and Japanese explanations.


. Join the Kokeshi Gallery of facebook .


Go on now to read
Kokeshi (3) こけし

Yamagata prefecture 山形のけこし
Sakunami 作並のこけし
Tsuchiyu Hot Spring 土湯温泉
Yonezawa 米沢こけし
Akita prefecture
Kijiyama 木地山

. Folk Toys from Aomori .


1 comment:

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

温湯温泉 Nuruyu Onsen Hot Spring
Daienji 大圓寺 / 大円寺 Daien-Ji
青森県南津軽郡大鰐町大字蔵館字村岡12 /
Muraoka-12 Kuradate, Ōwani-machi, Minamitsugaru-gun, Aomori
Main statue is Dainichi Nyorai 大鰐の大日様 Owani no Dainichi)

This Dainichi is closely related to the nearby hot spring and Saint Enchi Shonin 円智上人 / 圓智上人 Saint Enchi .