Craftsman The Doll Maker

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The value of a highly experienced craftsman is in understanding each of the various stages, and in being able to assemble and shape the final product according to a precise set of geometric rules, not unlike the principles of ikebana flower arrangement. Shaping the arms into the correct pose is particularly difficult. With even the more modest individual pieces running into the hundreds of thousands of yen, some may be eager to learn the finer points that set aside a truly superior work. A true connoisseur, he explains, would recognize his work from the quality of the silk, and from the layering of different patterns known as eri-maki.

The Intricate Work Of A Japanese Doll-Maker

From his workshop in the hills of Wakayama, this fresh-faced swordsmith endeavors to protect a dying Connect with us. You may also like Matt Evans.

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More in Feature. Feature Persimmon Paradise By kansaiscene Sep 18, Escape to Enchanting Wakanoura. To Top. It's certainly a difficult task inspiring the next generation of doll makers," says Takeyoshi, who is also President of the Fukuoka Doll Making Union.

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The only way for younger people to learn is to become an apprentice and study from one of these masters, but not so many are interested. The pace of life is faster these days, attention spans are shorter. Undeterred, Takeyoshi is doing what he can to promote the art of doll making. Through events, meetings and government liaison, the Fukuoka Doll Making Union works to encourage interest from youngsters, as well as to market ningyo at home and abroad.

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Despite belonging to such a rare fraternity, Takeyoshi remains unconcerned about the future. The sprightly septuagenarian believes supply will always meet demand. Some craftsmen are also innovating with styles and characters.

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This keeps things fresh and fashionable. The month of July is highlighted in the calendar of many a Hakata ningyo maker. At this time every year Fukuoka lays on the spectacular Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival , one of Japan's biggest celebrations.

Doll Maker

On July 1, floats called kazariyamakasa are set up in different parts of the city. Made by master craftsmen such as Kuniaki Takeyoshi, these floats are about 16 meters high, and sumptuously decorated with magnificent dolls that illustrate various historical or legendary tales.

The Hakata Gion Yamakasa culminates with the "oiyama". Starting at am on July 15, this involves seven different teams of men called "nagare", who race through the streets of Hakata carrying a float called a kakiyamakasa on their shoulders. The route is five kilometers long and the fastest team wins.