Kokeshi making experience in Iwate prefecture

Hello! This is Junko. We’ve experienced Kokeshi dolls making in Iwate prefecture. Making Kokeshi dolls by ourselves was really difficult, but was fun!

The picture above is the Kokeshi dolls we made. From left, by Shintaro’s mom, by mom (it’s her second experience), by Junko, by Shintaro.

It’s interesting each doll relfects the maker’s personality 🙂

dye for kokeshi dolls

These are the dyes used for painting Kokeshi dolls. This time, we used three colors – red, blue green and black. 

They all seem dark in the palette, but they turn vivid when painted on the wood.

kokeshi dolls making

Paint the wooden doll with a small brush. You can draw whatever you like 🙂

The brush is soft and difficult to control. We Japanese all learn calligraphy in elementary school, but there’s little chance we do calligraphic work in our daily life. 

I had a brush with my hand for the first time in 20 years. It was unexpectedly hard to draw pictures exactly the same as what I imagined!

Information about the place where we experienced Kokeshi making

The Kokeshi making experience was held at Hanamaki shi Hakubutsukan (Hanamaki city museum) in Iwate prefecture.  It was a special summer event and Mr. Susumago, a traditional Kokeshi craftman who inherited a traditional Nanbu Kokeshi style, taught us how to make Kokeshi dolls.

The museum doesn’t have a lot of Kokeshi dolls, but there’s a Kokeshi atelier run by Mr. Susumago near it. You can take a look at his works and buy Kokeshi dolls.

Hanamaki shi Hakubutsukan is a good place if you’re interested in archaeology. They have various documents and historical arts related to Hanamaki city. The collection starts the Joumon era (BC 14000 – BC 300) to the current days.