Visit craftsmen – Naruko Kokeshi Continue to keep tradition and continue to think new

March 2, 2018 We visited Yasuo Okazaki, who is exhibiting at a special exhibition at Aoyama Square.

Miyagi Traditional Kokeshi (Naruko Kokeshi): Yasuo Okazaki

Miyagi Traditional Kokeshi contains four Miyagi kokeshi mushrooms. Naruko Kokeshi, Yajiro Kokeshi, Sendai Kokeshi, Togatta Kokeshi. This time, we talked to Mr. Okazaki, who continues to make Naruko Kokeshi as a family business.

It is said that Naruko Kokeshi began at the end of the Edo period when kijishi who were grinding bowls and trays made it as toys for their children and children in the neighborhood.


Naruko Kokeshi as a family business

Since I was little, I’ve always been around

At Mr. Okazaki’s house, both grandfathers and fathers made kokeshi mushrooms.
For this reason, he has been living with kokeshi near him since he was a child, and he was conscious that he would make it when he grew up.

Mr. Okazaki, who has never thought of any other job, has a belief in making kokeshi.

At the age of 18, Mr. Okazaki began to train under his father as a kokeshi creator. It is a kokeshi that I have seen since I was a child, so I thought that I could do it immediately at first.



When he started training, he said that he was able to make kokeshi(wood ground) but had a hard time writing his face.

And it was so obvious to the customer that it was.

One day, when I sold kokeshi made by my grandfather, father, myself and three people at the same price, only the kokeshi I made was unsold.
Although it was possible to do as a sale, it was an event that I learned that customers still understood which kokeshi was good.

Even now, the kokeshi made at that time remains at hand, so it seems that he sometimes compares it with the kokeshi made by himself. He said that in the old days, you can feel that the expression is hard and that the creator is nervous.


Exploring new forms


Kokeshi Boom

Kokeshi is still booming today.

However, the kokeshi boom that occurred around 1975-50 seems to have been more amazing. Kokeshi can be sold more and more, so it is not enough no matter how many creators are.


At that time, there were about 80 to 100 creators. Now, about one-third of that is about 30, so you can see that the current kokeshi boom is not so much.

A new type of kokeshi

However, the boom is still boom. It is certain that sales are good.

However, while the old-fashioned kokeshi needs to be passed on to future generations, I thought that was really all I could do, so recently I started to make a new type of kokeshi.

For example, kokeshi for putting eggs, or kokeshi with mirrors on the back.

Not only Naruko Kokeshi made by Mr. Okazaki thinks about the possibility of kokeshi, but also other kokeshi production areas.

The unusual kokeshi begins to appear, and it attracts customers.

Naruko Kokeshi as a traditional craft

Naruko Kokeshi became a traditional craft in 1981 as a Miyagi traditional kokeshi with a collection of traditional kokeshi from Miyagi Prefecture.

It is said that people of mr./Ms. Okazaki’s father’s age started one generation and applied at this time when it became a traditional craft at the peak period of the Kokeshi boom. He said that applying at that time made it really good because there is a kokeshi production area that is currently helping.

Compared to other kokeshi production areas, Naruko Kokeshi has a production area in a good location. There is Naruko Onsen near Naruko Kokeshi, and it has the advantage that the original recognition is different. However, I thought that it was not enough, and Mr. Okazaki said that he was always thinking about new things.

Chrysanthemum flowers on kokeshi

What is the meaning of chrysanthemums?

By the way, there are a lot of one that the flower of the chrysanthemum is written on the body of kokeshi. What do you think this is?

To tell the truth, it is said that it is Emperor’s Prince Nobutaka to have taught the technique as the kiji master to this provinces though the kokeshi was originally made by the kiji master. In other words, he told me that he was expressing his kindness because he taught me.


Kokeshi may still have things that we don’t know. If you are interested, please ask the creator.

– –
Mr. Okazaki, who spoke to me this time,
We are exhibiting at Aoyama Square until March 4th at Takumi Corner “Traditional Crafts Exhibition in Miyagi Prefecture”.
(Miyagi Prefecture’s Traditional Crafts Exhibition runs until March 7)

During the period, we also have production experiences, so please come and see us.

What do you think?


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

    Written by 工芸プレス


    Visit the craftsman – Mino ware My Mino ware

    Visiting craftsmen – Osaka Senshu Kirikosu To make the most of the goodness of paulownia