Category Archives: biography

Media post メディアポスト: Hiroi & co at Shimin Matsuri 市民まつりでの廣井先生たち

Hiroi-sensei and his apprentices participated in many local community events. Below are photos of them selling their top and kokeshi products at Sendai’s Shimin Matsuri, a local festival, in the 1980s.

廣井先生と弟子がよくコミュニティーのエベントに参加していた。以下の写真で、廣井先生たちが80年代の仙台市民まつりで独楽・こけしなどを売っている。

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Newspaper article 新聞記事:Craft Village Calls for Four Apprentices

Hiroi-sensei has appeared many times in Japanese newspapers. Below is a translation of an article entitled “Craft Village Calls for Four Apprentices” that ran November 11, 2012 in the newspaper Kahoku shinpō. See the original Japanese article at the link below.

廣井先生は多数の新聞記事で特集されています。2012年11月11日、河北新報が廣井先生についての記事を掲載しました。以下のリンクでアクセスできます。

Click here for the original article in Japanese.

日本語での記事はこちら

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Craft Village Calls for Four Apprentices

Kokeshi, Edogoma, Sendai tansu, Tea Utensils

Sendai and Akiu Engage in Job Creation Projects

Sekino learns painting from kokeshi artisan Suzuki (left)

At workshops in “Akiu Craft Village” in Sendai’s Taihaku Ward, four people in their 20s and 30s have become apprentices. In order to address the lack of successors to their crafts, artisans have welcomed and supported the country’s emergency job creation situation.

They also hope to borrow the energy of these young people to revitalize efforts to increase the dwindling number of visitors who come to Akiu Craft Village.

“A Chance to Train a Successor”

Both the Ganguan Kokeshi Store and the Onkomaya Hiroi Edo tops workshop have acquired two apprentices. The Sendai tansu shop Kumandō and tea utensil Umoregi* shop also have taken on apprentices.

Sekino Akiko (age 39, Taihaku Ward), a part-time instructor at an elementary school in Sendai who has become an apprentice at Ganguan, began visiting Akiu Craft Village once or twice during months off starting three years ago. Sekino decided to become an apprentice, saying, “I would like to open a workshop and convey to children how wonderful wooden toys are.”

On the 7th of this month, Sekino began learning to paint. By using kokeshi artisan Suzuki Akira (52)’s models as reference, Sekino is starting to learn how to paint eyebrows, eyes, and noses. Sekino worried, “Starting the brushwork is incredibly difficult”; to which Suzuki responded “Your own feelings are passed through the brush and appear in the work,” communicating the importance of being aware of your own state of mind while working.

Sales are in a slump, and more than half of the 9 shops at the Craft Village have no apprentices. The partnership of artisans, alarmed by this, solicited the apprentices using project assistance from the government that can guarantee at most one year and five months’ wages for them.

“It takes a short while to come into one’s own as an artisan, about a year and a half,” said Hiroi, the head of the project partnership, “but it would be great if we had a chance to train the artisans of the future.”

In addition to taking those who come to Akiu Craft Village on tours, Sekino will be making new kokeshi characters and has an important position in building up interest in the Craft Village.

Dyeing and Weaving Atelier Tsuru is also recruiting apprentices now. People who would like to apply can do so through the job placement office or contact the Association representative at 022 (398) 2770.

*Translator’s note: This is an error. The Umoregi shop sells items crafted from bogwood and the Kobokusha Store sells tea utensils.

 

Janell’s Tops: Part 3

While Janell was an apprentice to Hiroi-sensei, he encouraged her to produce tops that dealt with themes related to American folk culture and lore that reflected both her background and the art and culture of her new home through traditional Japanese crafts. The photos below show tops Janell made in the 1980s. There are both western-themed tops and traditional Japanese tops.

Newspaper article 新聞記事: Moved from Toshima, To Train in Akiu: Maeda from the Izu Islands

Hiroi-sensei and Maeda-san have appeared many times in Japanese newspapers. Below is a translation of an article entitled “Moved from Toshima, To Train in Akiu: Maeda from the Izu Islands” that ran January 10, 2008 in the newspaper Kahoku shinpō. See the original Japanese article at the link below.

廣井先生と前田さんは多数の新聞記事で特集されています。2008年1月10日、河北新報が廣井先生についての記事を掲載しました。以下のリンクでアクセスできます。

Click here for the original article: 記事はこちら

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Kahoku shinpō (January 10, 2008)

Maeda makes traditional artworks using reclaimed camellia wood, which is difficult to work with.

Moved from Toshima, To Train in Akiu: Maeda from the Izu Islands

“I want to become a woodworker using camellia wood in my hometown”

Akiu Craft Village in the Taihaku Ward of Sendai City and the Izu Islands near Tokyo are forming a closer bond. A man from Toshima has moved to Akiu and is training in traditional crafts. Given the opportunity to use reclaimed camellia wood from the Izu islands during his training at Akiu Craft Village, in the future, he hopes to return to his hometown as a woodworker specializing in their local camellia wood. For Akiu, they can also greatly increase the assortment of products they make, and their craftspeople have responded warmly, saying, “We this to become a bridge between Akiu and isolated islands of the Pacific.”

This man is Maeda Ryōji (26). While working a part-time job at a gas station in Sendai, he commutes to the “Komaya [Top Shop] Hiroi” workshop and is learning how to make tea cups, saucers, and tops.

The Hiroi workshop is managed by Hiroi Michiaki (74), one of the seven artisans of the Akiu Craft Village Work Association.

Maeda, after helping with his parent’s fishing business, worked at a company in Tokyo. In spring of 2004, he came to sell camellia oil at a product fair in Akiu Craft Village, where he by chance met Hiroi and developed an interest in traditional arts. In fall, he moved to Sendai.

Maeda says that his dream is “to master [everything], from methods of sawing to the making of ten types of edged tools using the lathe, then become the only woodworker in Toshima.”

In 2004, at the suggestion of local planner Aizawa Yū (51, Izumi Ward), the Work Association began a project to create new traditional craft pieces using reclaimed wood from Toshima. They received a donation of camellia wood from Toshima village and began their exchange selling kokeshi and accessory cases they made from it.

Compared with dogwood and other trees used for wooden toys, camellia has numerous hidden knots in the wood and becomes extremely hard when dried, making it difficult to work with. The products made from camellia have a particular texture and tint to them that give them a high-quality feeling.

Aizawa has said, “I thought we would join forces—Toshima, which had an issue with disposing of its old camellia wood, and the Craft Village, which was looking for a new challenge. We would be happy if Maeda became an independent craftsperson and inherited our traditional craft techniques.”

A map of Toshima 利島 off the coast of Tokyo and Yokohama.

“I don’t think there are any woodworkers in Japan that use camellia. I want to guide Maeda so he can readily become an independent artisan,” Hiroi said enthusiastically.

Toshima 利島 is located 140 km south of Tokyo. The population of the island, which spans about 8 km in circumference,  is around 300 people. More than half the island is covered with around 200,000 camellia trees, whichproduced about 14.5 kiloleters (3830.5 gallons) of camellia oil from their seeds a year in 2006–an estimated 60% of all of Japan’s camellia oil.

 

Hiroi-sensei and his apprentices

In this post, Hiroi-sensei highlights his own experiences as an apprentice and the many years he instructed others. He describes the apprenticing process and the years of dedication necessary to become a master top-maker.

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Paula Curtis: And to continue, can you tell us a little about your experience as an apprentice?

Hiroi Michiaki: As an apprentice?

Paula: Yes, um, such as, when you were an Edo top apprentice and first began learning it, what was the most difficult thing, for example. Could you explain a bit about that experience?

Hiroi: Ahh… yes. The most difficult thing was whether a top would spin well or not. At the beginning I didn’t know what I should do to make it spin well. That was definitely the most difficult thing. It’s still hard now, though, it’s still difficult. How it will spin, how I should produce it to get different ways of moving; since the many ways it moves depend on the strength of the top. That foundation… making the top so that it spins, that’s the most [difficult]. A lot of years… it takes a lot of years [to learn], you know. Even now it’s the same. That’s really the most difficult thing.

Paula: Even now, um–

Hiroi: Even now.

Paula: Even now, do your apprentices think that is the most difficult thing [to learn]?

Hiroi: Ahh, I don’t know what my apprentices think. I think it’s probably the same, though. And for tops, you know right away. Whether it’s good or bad. No matter how many you make with this shape, if you spin it and watch and it goes rattling about, it’s not a good one. So that’s the most difficult part. I think my apprentices probably have that same worry, even now, worried [about how they spin].

Paula: When did you first start accepting apprentices?

Hiroi: Mm, when was my first apprentice…?  Ahh, it was after we came to Fukuhara, right. Umm it was some years ago… mm, it was some years ago so I’ve forgotten. Quite a while back. It was before we came here, so we came here at least twenty-five years ago, and it was before that, so about thirty years ago, I think.

Paula: How many apprentices do you usually have?

Hiroi: At first it was one. And I mentioned this before, but that apprentice had a lot of friends and brought seven people with him, so, yeah, it was when we were in Fukuhara, so before we came here.

Paula: Um, when Janell came here to learn about these Edo tops, did you have [other] apprentices did you have at that time?

Hiroi: At that time… ah! I already had some apprentices, seven of them. The apprentices from Shiroishi were already here at that time. And in addition to them, um, there were a number of people, umm, who like Landis-sensei came here to learn as a hobby… Amano-san, Jin-san… umm… Suzuki-san, Zanma-san… ahh, also there was Shimamura-san, Watanabe-san… who else was there… Amano-san, Jin-san… Junna-san, Suzuki-san… and… Ah! Today, err? Kyōya-san, was he around that time? When we were in Fukuhara. Kyōya-san…

Mrs. Hiroi: Also there was the Jins.

Hiroi: So, Amano-san, Jin-san, and Zanma-san, Suzuki-san, Kyōma-san…

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah. That’s about it.

Hiroi: That was about all the people doing it as a hobby. Ah, and Landis-sensei, too.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah. So that’s about it.

Hiroi: Six people doing it as a hobby. And other than them, there were people doing it professionally… Ah, Shinomura-san was doing it for a hobby at first, and from that beginning went pro.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah.

Hiroi: So other than the seven from Shiroishi that I said before, the people who became professionals were the two from Marumori and today’s Tome. Umm, seven people plus two people, so nine.

Mrs. Hiroi: Mm.

Hiroi: Nine people, these were those aiming at being pros and who were pros. And the other six were amateurs doing it as a hobby. So in all there was ten– ah, there was also Morimoto-san.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah. There was also Morimoto-san.

Hiroi: Right. In that case there was a lot. Fifteen or sixteen. Heh heh heh. So there was a turnover.

[7:13]

Paula: And were you apprentices usually men? Women?

Hiroi: Female apprentices. Umm with Landis-sensei as the first, then there was Jin-san’s wife. And… there was Yamada-san. Umm… female apprentices…

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah… yeah… that was about it.

Hiroi: Is that about it? I thought there was someone else…

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah. There weren’t [that many] women.

Hiroi: Only three? It was three women.

Paula: Going pro…?

Hiroi: Mmm… probably…

Paula: Was there no one?

Hiroi: There was no one who went pro that was a hobbyist, but there are people above pro. But that doesn’t mean that they’re making a living from it…

Paula: About how old were people who became apprentices? At the beginning, at the beginning–

Hiroi: When they first came?

Paula: Yeah.

Hiroi: How old were they? Around that time I think everyone was in their thirties.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah.

Hiroi: Yeah… it was their thirties. Yeah. Among the men, who was the oldest?

Mrs. Hiroi: Around that time wasn’t there Minoru-kun?

Hiroi: Minoru-kun was so young at that time.

Mrs. Hiroi: Was he that young?

Hiroi: He was still a child.

Mrs. Hiroi: Was he?

Hiroi: Yeah, yeah, was he in his twenties? [Or] in his thirties.

Mrs. Hiroi: Uh, who, who was?

Hiroi: Was he in his thirties? Yeah, everyone was, weren’t they?

Mrs. Hiroi: That’s how it was. Yeah.

Hiroi: The oldest person… ah, was it Watanabe-san? Mm. Watanabe-san was the oldest. He was from a place called Marumori. And he was interesting, I have a story about him. His younger sister’s husband, he was from Marumori. And this sister, the man she married, her husband, he was the chauffeur for the mayor of Marumori. And I was often told that in Marumori they didn’t have any special [local] products, so they wanted me to make something. And at that time, when they said “Let’s make something!” in Marumori, there was one person who made kokeshi, and they asked him if he’d make them something. I spoke with them about it, but ahh– “bring him along”– [no,] I think they said to bring what I’d made and show them to see what they were.

Mrs. Hiroi: Mm. Yeah.

Hiroi: Then I brought my goods, but they were the [amusing] sort you laugh at. And that guy was someone who specialized in making a new kind of kokeshi using unfinished wood; it seems that he didn’t make them himself, but he made the unfinished wood to order, and didn’t have any experience making them himself. And I brought him with me, and at the time, because they came from the town hall… did the mayor come? The mayor, and– ah, no, it was the deputy mayor.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah. The deputy mayor.

Hiroi: The deputy mayor and… umm, the section chief of the commerce and industry division. I think three people came.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah. Three people came.

Hiroi:  I wonder if the mayor came… In any case, three people from the town hall came to my home with his younger sister’s husband. And they came saying that they had thought about something that could be the special local product of Marumori, and [asked] whether I had anything good. At that time, uhh, and then, the thing I made was, umm, this sort of… is there a pencil? Umm, this kind of shape… [drawing]  and here there’s… this top with three [other tops] attached.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah. Three [tops] attached to it.

Hiroi: It’s in this shape, one, two, three. I made this kind of top… and I made this kind of top, but they didn’t understand what it was for some reason. In Japanese, it’s “marui” (round), round and there’s three trees. There are three trees in the round place, so it becomes “Marumori.” [translator’s note: the town’s name, Marumori, is comprised of the kanji for “round” and for “forest.” The character for “forest,” mori 森,  is made up of three of the “tree” kanji (木), making this a pun on three round objects representing trees becoming a “round forest,” or “marumori,” the town name.]

And I made this top and show it to them and the people from town hall were surprised and said, “Ohh, this is great!” So they took it and had the person I mentioned before, Watanabe-san, make it, and it’s [now] sold as Marumori’s special product. They’re [still] making it now. They’re still making it now, though I don’t know where they’re selling it, but I hear it’s still made somewhere. So a few might still be sold somewhere, but I don’t know. I don’t know how they’re selling it. But at that time, for the first time I met Watanabe-san, and the people from town hall said that they definitely wanted me to make him an apprentice and teach him. When he came, he was quite a different age than you, wasn’t he?

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah.

Hiroi: He was the oldest [of the apprentices]. He also had a lot of experience. Even now there are a lot of shops that have the products he’s made. He might come here directly today. Yesterday he called and he said he might come. He was the oldest.

Paula: How many years are your apprentices apprenticed to you before they become independent top-makers?

Hiroi: Umm, in the end it takes ten years. Of course, it takes half a year or a year to learn the lathe. And then there’s a lot to remember. Even for someone like Maeda-kun, who can do it all now, it took ten years. It takes ten years.

Paula: Did you have any foreign apprentices after that?

Hiroi: No, after that, I didn’t any apprentices, but the people who came because they liked it were those that Landis-sensei introduced to me. They were her friends, and Newton-san, Landis-sensei had– what was it? Was he from Shichigahama? Takayama? After she returned to America, Newton-san joined [my workshop]. Newton-san came to my home for a while, but I think he moved somewhere before the [Tōhoku] earthquake. It was that he moved to Okayama or somewhere shortly after, right? So I think he wasn’t around for the earthquake, the tsunami.

And other than him, there was a person from Sweden, a person from Denmark, and– where was it? Was he Japanese? And there was another person. An American. Someone related to [Janell’s] church, I think. And they gave me wooden clogs or something. Clogs from Sweden or Denmark– I thought they were from Holland and they were like “No, you’re wrong!” and “Mine are the real thing.” I have the clogs somewhere, I could find them if I looked. And often when they came, they’d make me cherry-shaped [tops]. They said it was because they loved cherries, [so they made] cherry-shaped tops. If you travel to Sweden and Denmark, they have purple and yellow cherries, not just red ones. So I asked them to [make tops] in all kinds of colors. So they did, and I was delighted.

But they didn’t become apprentices. In that time, ummm… their term [of office], they had to switch jobs, so they had to go back to their countries. So both of them had to go back to their countries at the same time, and I never met them again. And one more person, who was it? Newton-san came every day, didn’t he? Until he moved to Okayama. He came until the earthquake happened. So he must have moved to Okayama just before that. And Landis-sensei brought him. Yeah, and Landis-sensei told him to become an apprentice, and he half-wanted to, but it was impossible for me [to make him do it]. Heh heh heh. He didn’t become an apprentice. He was a handsome person. Heh heh heh. When you met him you were like “Whoooa.” Hahahaha.

[25:50]

 

廣井先生と弟子

廣井先生自身が見習いだった時の経験や、長く弟子に独楽づくりを教えていた年月について語っている。弟子入りのプロセスや独楽職人となるために必要な年数などについて説明している。

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ポーラ・カーティス:で、続いて、あのう、先生の弟子としての経験を、ま、少し説明していただけませんか。

廣井道顕:弟子としてのって?

ポーラ:はい、あのう、江戸独楽の弟子として、ま、最初に習ったときは、まあ、先生には一番難しいところはなんでしたかとか、そのような経験について少し説明していだたけませんか。

廣井:あぁ・・・はい。一番難しかったのはね、独楽がよく回るか回らないか。どうしたらよく回るのかなぁっていうのが、最初よく分らなくて。難しかったのは、それが一番ですね。それは今も、そうなんですけど、同じなんですけど。いかによく回して、どう、いろんな動きが、その独楽の力によって、いろんな動きを、こう作り出すっていうか。それの基本・・・が、その、独楽が回るように作るっていう、それが一番、何年も・・・あー、何年もどころでないね。未だに、そうなんですけども。それがやっぱり一番難しかったですね。

ポーラ:今も、あのう―

廣井:今も。

ポーラ:先生の弟子は、あの、今も先生の弟子は同じところが一番難しいと、あの、思っていますか。

廣井:あぁ、弟子たちはどう思ってるか、分らないですけど。多分同じ、だと思うんですけどね。で、独楽の場合は、すぐ分るんですよね。よし、良い悪いが。いくらこう形ができても、回してみるとガタガタになってれば、ね、いいもんでもないし。だからその点がね、一番難しいところで。多分今も弟子たちも同じ悩みに、悩んでると思うんですけどね。

ポーラ:先生は初めて弟子を受け入れる時はいつでしたか。

廣井:ええ、はじめて弟子を・・・いつごろなんだ?あぁ、袋原に行ってからだよな。ううんとね、何年前だ・・・ううん、何年前だか忘れてしまったので。結構前ですね。ここへ来る前ですから、ここへ来てもう、二十五年になるから、その前だから、三十年ぐらい前かな。

ポーラ:普通は弟子何人いますか。

廣井:最初は一人。で、さっきも話したけど、その弟子が、あの仲間をいっぱい、七人連れてきたのが、ええ、やっぱり袋原にいるとき、こっちに来る前ですね。

ポーラ:あのう、ジャネルさんがここで、あの、あの、この江戸独楽について、学びましたときは、そのときは、弟子何人いましたか。

廣井:そのときは・・・あっ、もういたんだね、七人。白石から来た弟子たちが、もういましたね、そのとき。でその他に、あのう、趣味で、ランディス先生みたく、趣味で習いに来てた弟子が、うーんと、あんとき何人いたんだ・・・天野さん、神(じん)さん・・・うんと・・・鈴木さん、残間(ざんま)さん・・・あぁ、あとは島村さん、渡辺さんとか・・・あと誰がいる・・・天野さん、神さん、・・・純名(じゅんな)さん、鈴木さん・・・いやあと、あっ!きょう、ん?京谷(きょうや)さんその頃だっけか。袋原にいるときだ。きょうやさん・・・

夫人:あとほら、神さんたち。

廣井:だから、天野さん、神さん、それから、残間さん、鈴木さん、京谷さん・・・

夫人:うん。それぐらいだよ。

廣井:趣味の人そんなもんだっけ。あぁ、でランディス先生もさ。

夫人:うん。んだ、それぐらいだ。

廣井:趣味、の人が六人。でその他に、プロの・・・あっ、篠村さん最初は趣味で、あぁ、最初からプロになるって来たんだっけか、篠村さんが。

夫人:うん。

廣井:だからプロになるっていう人が、今言ったの白石の七人の他に、あと丸森からと、あとそれから、今の登米からと、二人、参加しているから。ええと、七人と二人、九人か。

夫人:うん。

廣井:九人、これはプロを目指して、プロだった人で。であとの六人はあの趣味でアマチュアで。だから全部で十、あ、森本さんもいたな。

夫人:うん。んだ、森本さんいた。

廣井:だな。そうすっと何人なんだ。十五・六人いたね。へへへ。だから入れ替わり立ち替わり来たんだよな。

[7:13]

ポーラ:で、あの先生の弟子はたいてい男性ですか、女性ですか。

廣井:女性の弟子はね。ええとまずランディス先生はじめとして、じんさんの奥さんだべ。それから・・・山田さんがいたか。ええと・・・女性の弟子は・・・

夫人:うん・・・うん・・・それぐらいだっちゃ。

廣井:そんなものか。あれなんかもっと誰がいたような・・・

夫人:うん。女でいねえっちゃわ。

廣井:三人だけか。女性三人ですね。

ポーラ:プロまでは、あのう・・・

廣井:うんん・・・やっぱり・・・

ポーラ:誰もいないんですか。

廣井:趣味の人はまだプロになった人はいないんですけど、プロ以上の人はいるんですよ。でもそれで、それで生活してるわけではないんですけど・・・

ポーラ:弟子になる人は何歳ぐらいですか。はじめ、はじめ―

廣井:初め来たとき?

ポーラ:はい。

廣井:何歳ぐらいで。あの頃みな三十代かな。

夫人:うん。

廣井:そうだな・・・三十代でした、ね。うん。男性の場合は、一番、年かさの人は誰だ。

夫人:うん。あのあたりんときみのるくんあたりでなかった?

廣井:みのるくんだからずっと若いべあの頃。

夫人:若いかったがいや?

廣井:まだ子供だ。

夫人:んだっけか?

廣井:そうそう二十代だべ。三十代だ。

夫人:で、誰、誰だべ?

廣井:三十ぐらいになってたのか。やっぱみな三十代だな。

夫人:なってたんだっちゃ。うん。

廣井:一番年上の人・・・あ、渡辺さんか。うん。渡辺さんって人が一番年上。これはあの、丸森っていうところ、の人なんですけど。うんとね、その人も面白いちょっと話があるんですけど。その人はね、こいつの妹の旦那が、これ丸森出身なんですけど。で、この妹の、結婚した相手の旦那さまが、旦那が、あの町長の丸森町の、町長の運転手をやってたのね。そんであのう、丸森に何もこう名物がないから、何か作りたいんだって話が、よく聞かされてたんだって。であのう、あるときね、そんであの、丸森で、何か作ろうっていう話になったときに、あのう、こけしをやってる人が一人いるっていうことで、でその人に何か作ってもらうかっていうことになって。で話をしたんだけど。あぁ、連れてこい、あ、作った品物どんなんだか見してくれって言ったのかな。

夫人:うん。そう。

廣井:そしたら品物を持って来たんだけど、なんかちょっと笑っちゃうような、品物で。あのう、その人は新型のこけしの、白木を専門でやってた人で、自分で作ったわけでなくて、注文出て白木を作ってた人で、自分で何かを作ったっていう経験はなかったみたいなのね。でね、その人を連れて、来るからっていうことで、役場のあのときは・・・町長が来たんだっけか?役場の町長と、あぁ違う。助役だ。

夫人:うん。助役だ。

廣井:助役と・・・うんと商工課の、課長だか。なんか三人来たような気がするな。

夫人:うん、三人来たな。

廣井:町長も来たのかな・・・とにかく三人で役場の人が、こいつの妹の旦那が連れて、うちに来たのね。そしてあのう、丸森の名物になるようなものを、うん、考えているだけど、何か良い物ないですかって来られて。そのときにね、んで、あの、ではっつうんで、作ってやったのは、ええとね、こういう、あれ鉛筆ねぇかな・・・。うんとね、こういう形の・・・こういうところに・・・うん、こういう独楽をここに三つくっ付けたんですよ。

夫人:うん、三つくっ付けた。

廣井:こう一、二、三って、こういう形に。こういう独楽をね、作ってやったのね・・・・・・で、こういうの作ってやったけ、その人たち何だか分からなかったの。んでね、これあの日本語にすると、丸い、これも丸い・・・丸い、木が三つだから。丸いところに木が三つだから、丸森となるんですよ。

で、これを作って見してやったっけ、その人、役場の人たちがビックリして、わぁこれは良いっていうことで。ほんで持って行って、でその今言った渡辺さんっていう人に作らせて、丸森名物として、売り出して。で今も作ってるっつったな。なんか今も作って、どこで売ってるかは分かんないんですけど、なんか、今でも作ってるそうです。だから、少しずつは売れてるのかも分かんないね。どういう売り方してっかは分からないんですけど。でそのとき、初めて、その渡辺さんって方と会って、で是非、あの弟子にして、教えてほしいって役場の人にも頼まれて。で来たら、お前とといくらも歳違わないんだよな。

夫人:うん。

廣井:でその人が一番年上だし、経験もいっぱいある人で。今も、その人の作った品物店にいっぱい置いてあるんですけども。もしかすっと今日来るかも分かんないね。きのう電話でなんか今日、来るようなこと言ってたな。その人一番上ですね。

ポーラ:で、江戸独楽の弟子から職人、ま、個人の職人までの過程は何年ぐらいかかりますでしょうか。

廣井:ううん、やっぱり十年はかかりますね、どうしてもね。であのう轆轤にのって削れるようになるのにやっぱり半年、一年はかかるしね。それから、色々なものを覚えて。やっぱり何でもできる前田君みたく今、今の前田君だって十年かかってますからね。十年かかりますね。

ポーラ:そのときから他の外国人の弟子はいましたか。

廣井:いやその後は、弟子になった人はいないけども、あの好きで集めてくれた人は、やっぱりランディス先生の紹介で来たのかな。ランディス先生の友達でね、ニュートンさんって方が、でランディス先生がほらあの、七ヶ浜のあそこ何だ高山?アメリカに帰った後に、ニュートンさんが入ったんですけど。ニュートンさんしばらくうちに来てたんだけど、地震なる前にどっか引っ越したのかな。あぁ岡山だかどっかに移るんだって言ってたんだよな。だから地震には遭わなかった気がするんですけどね、津波にはね。

でその他にはあの、スウェーデンの方と、デンマークの方と、あとどこだっけ…えぇどこの国の人だっけな。あぁそれともう一人いたんだよな。アメリカの人かな。まぁ教会関係の、人みたい。であの、木靴なんかもらったね、デンマークだか、スウェーデンだかの…木靴っていうのはオランダのかなと思ったら『違うんだ』なんて。『私の方が本場です』なんて。木靴どこかにあるんだよな、探せばあるんだけども。でよく、あの来るとねあの、さくらんぼ作ってあげたのね。なんかさくらんぼ、チェリーが好きだからってんで、そのチェリーの独楽。したっけ、あのスウェーデンだかデンマークの方行くと、赤ばかりでなくて紫のもあるし黄色のもあるし、色々あるんだからなんて。いろんな色を付けてくれって。でいろんな色を付けてあげて、喜ばれたことがありますけどね。

ただ、弟子にまではならなかったなあ。でそのうち、なんか…ううん、でなんか時間、任期切れとか何だかで、国に帰らなきゃならないんだって。で二人、デンマークの人とスウェーデンの人を二人同時期に、国に帰ってしまって、それ以外会ってないですけどね。もう一人ね、だれ、なんつったか、あのニュートンさんは毎日来たんだよな、あの岡山に移る前、まで。んで地震が、起こる前までは来てたんですけど。だから多分あれ、すれすれで岡山行ったかも分からないよな。でニュートンさんは、あそうだランディス先生が連れてきたんだ。そうだそれであの、弟子になれってランディス先生に言われて、半分その気になったんだけど、私には無理ですっつうて。へへへ。弟子にはならなかったんだな。きれいな人でね。へへへ。会うとポーとするんだ。あはははは。

[25:50]

 

 

ジャネルの独楽: Part 2

ジャネルが弟子入りしている間、廣井氏はジャネルの生まれ育った場所と新しい故郷である日本の芸術・文化を、日本の伝統工芸を通して表現できるようにと、アメリカの民俗文化や伝承をテーマにした独楽も作ってみるよう勧めた。以下の写真は1980年代からジャネルが作った独楽です。

Hiroi-sensei and Exhibitions

In this post, Hiroi-sensei discusses his experiences on and feelings about displaying his work in public. He touches on Edogoma being shown at museums around the world and interest from international collectors.

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[13:57]

Paula: And, um, regarding your work, do you travel within the country much for work?

Hiroi: Ahh, here–

Paula: For work.

Hiroi: Mm. For work?

Paula: Business trips, etc. Do you go on many of them? For example, well, for selling the Edo tops, doing exhibitions, for example, do you do a lot of that within Japan?

Hiroi: I see. It’s almost all within Japan. After I came here [to Akiu] I haven’t go out much for work, but before I came here, I did. At product exhibitions, here and there. Yeah. The Edo tops were actually the most popular [items] wherever I went.

Paula: About how many times a year [did you go to them]?

Hiroi: Ahh, well when there were a lot–three, four, I did them three or four times a year. Ah! Ahh, I did more than that! Ummm… among those trips, yeah, because my younger brother started going to Tokyo. Every year he put out his goods, so [my trips] were almost all-year round. Tokyo, Osaka. Because my brother went about with [his tops].

Paula: And you said that your younger brother had international exhibitions?

Hiroi: Ah, yes. My brother was called abroad, to America and Europe quite a bit. Thanks to that we were quite popular. So like I said before, he was even made an honorary citizen of Seattle in America. He was even asked if he’d become an honorary citizen in New York, too, but he said he was scared so he turned it down. Mm. That’s how much importance he’s put into [our craft].

And, umm… and he was often called to museums in Germany and France, etc., and went there. I heard they even set up some special spot [for his work there]. In Finland or somewhere he was able to [display his work] in a museum. Americans and Europeans have really appreciated [our work]. It’s a shame, really… it would be good if Japanese people had a fraction of that appreciation. But it can’t be helped.

Even our neighbors, the Koreans, have said as such. Some time ago, on Korean television there was a cultural broadcast that came to collect data. And what they said when [they came] was, “Are the people at the craft village receiving protection from the state? For example, have you been named a living national treasure?” It turns out there was a place similar to our [craft village] close to Seoul, and the artisans there were what Japan calls “living national treasures” but for Korea. They asked “Is this place the same as there?” and when I said “No, everyone here is individual. The prefecture [helped us] make the village, but everyone is individual and has debts, and set it up themselves and supports themselves,” they were shocked. “Ahh, that’s too bad!” they said. (laughs) Even though artisans are the treasures of a country. They said “Korea won!” (laughs) It was mortifying. (laughs)

[18:10]

Paula: This is about Sendai again, but, what are your interactions with the local community like? Do you do special activities or exhibitions?

Hiroi: Ah, in Sendai?

Paula: Yes.

Hiroi: After I came here… After I came here I didn’t really do any, but before that… before I came here… for many years, three or four, I wonder? In front of the station there was– it’s not there anymore, but– there was a Jūjiya department store, and at the department story for three or four years every year we did an New Year’s exhibition and sale. Jūjiya was a small department store and not that many people went to it, but this Edo top exhibition, it was only at New Year’s, and people lined up for them. We hung up a huge curtain and everyone was really delighted. Jūjiya was the first time I did [an exhibition] in Sendai, and to have people lined up into the night on New Year’s, it was really something.

And for three years [we did it], and the fourth year I came here, and they asked me to do it a fourth year, but I’d moved here, so I think I couldn’t do it. Then Jūjiya went bankrupt. Heh heh heh… And now… what did the store become? I think they turned it into something. Ah, it merged with Daiei… I think it merged with Daiei. Anyway, the store isn’t there anymore. The department store. Jūjiya was the one I did grand exhibitions at for three years, and after that… after that I didn’t really do any. After that there were sometimes kokeshi-maker or product exhibitions, but we always did that as a group. There weren’t many. Then I moved here, so. But even if I didn’t do that kind of thing, people who liked [the tops] requested them and lots of people came to the shop, so there was no inconvenience to selling them. And after moving here, since moving here people came steadily [to the shop].

[20:56]

Paula: And did you have any chances to do an international exhibition?

Hiroi: Ahh… international. I don’t really… don’t really know. Umm… there were some things. Not direct [opportunities], but people who collected [the tops], umm… where was it? Not America. Somewhere in Europe, France…? Ahh, Germany. A German museum… they said they would do an exhibition. [They asked] if I’d contribute what I had and exhibit them. Just exhibit them. After that a German person came, and it was the museum person, and they saw my works and bought a number of them.

After, the interesting thing was that in France– where was it? Uhh, the sister city with Sendai. Hm? What was it called? Umm… what was it… eh? I’ve forgotten the name. The sister city with Sendai… uhh… wait, Rennes, Rennes…? Rennes?? Rennes, I think it was called Rennes. I don’t really remember the name. It might be Rennes. He said the mayor [of Rennes] was collecting tops. And he wanted Edo tops, and for cultural exchange artisans from that city, people from Rennes, had come from Rennes to Sendai. And a number of Sendai city councillors had come with him to the craft village. And they went there and from here I could see them talking [to the artisans]. And this one red-faced, enormous man pointed at me and was saying something over and over. And everyone restrained him and kept shaking him off and he rushed off in quite a hurry, and I was really shocked and thought, wow, we’ve become important. They’d say “Ohhh!” and that they wanted my howling top, and such. And the interpreter said said that he’d come here and collected tops, and that he had a number of Edo tops, but no matter what the cost he wanted a howling top and he’d heard that they were made in Sendai, so he definitely wanted to come. But he’d tried to come here and everyone had held him back, so he had gone out of his way to go out. And did we have howling tops? And just at the time I had some howling tops, so I gave him one as a gift, and he was really happy and went back [to France]. That sort of thing happened.

[24:30]

Paula: And when was that story about France and Germany? What year–

Hiroi: Ahh… that was some time ago. Ten… fifteen or sixteen years ago, I think. It’s been fifteen or sixteen years. After… wait, it was early than that. Twenty years ago…? Ahh… Mm. When I did a museum exhibition was about twenty years ago.

The Sendai museum. I’ve done an exhibition of these Edo tops before. What was amazing at that time was the museum exhibited all of the tops, and we asked Landis-sensei if there was something she’d use to describe the Edo tops in one word in English, and it was the first time I’d heard her use the word unbelievable [anbiriihaburu]] And the museum wrote above its entrance “Unbelievable Edo Tops.” And before long it was on television, so at the time they started saying unbelievable. It might be because of Landis-sensei that the word unbelievable spread throughout Japan at the time. Heh heh heh. Until then no one knew about that kind of thing. It was said that that word fit Edo tops perfectly. I thought, “Yeah, that’s the sort of thing they are.” It was right about… and Landis-sensei also… ummm that time was… seventeen or eighteen years ago, after all. It was after that museum exhibition, wasn’t it? When the mayor from Rennes came. Seven, seventeen or eighteen years ago.

After that, a person who was the curator of the Mexican National Museum [also] came. She was a really high-spirited person. She was fussing was like “WOW!” [over the tops]. Always “WOW!” She was so animated. It made me so happy. It was a woman. She said was from the national, Mexican National Museum. I was so delighted. I don’t really remember what came of it. Hahaha. She made a clamor and was dancing about. Heh heh heh. I thought “Amaaaaazing!”

 

廣井先生と展示

廣井先生が自分の作品を展示した時のことやその時の気持ちを語っている。江戸独楽が海外の美術館で展示されていることや江戸独楽が海外の収集家に注目されていることについて触れている。

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[13:57]

ポーラ:で、あのう、先生のお仕事についてですが、あのう国内のあのう、ご出張が多いでしょうか。

廣井:あぁ、ここで-

ポーラ:お仕事のために。

廣井:うん。仕事のため?

ポーラ:ご出張、ご出張とかは多いですか。例えば、ま、あのう、その江戸独楽を売るためとか、展覧会でとか、国内では多いですか。

廣井:そうですね。ほんとんど国内ですね。ここへ来てからは、そんなに行かないですけども、来る前は結構、行っていましたね。あのう物産展とかで、あちこちへ。ええ。やっぱり一番人気で、どこに行っても。

ポーラ:まあ一年間、何回ぐらい?

廣井:あぁ、多い時では、あぁ・・・三、四回、三回、四回は行ってました。あ!あぁ、もっと行ってた!ううんとね・・・ああそのうちほら、東京に弟が行くようになったから、そうだ。毎年ね・・・品物はずっと出して弟にやらしてたから、ほとんど一年中ですね。東京とか、大阪とか。弟が持って回って歩いてたからね。

ポーラ:で、あの弟さんはあの国際の展覧会があったとおっしゃいましたか。

廣井:あぁ、ええ。弟はね、結構外国、アメリカ・ヨーロッパへ、呼ばれて行って。なんかお陰さんでえらい人気でもって。だからさっきも言ったんだけどアメリカではあのシアトルの名誉市民にさせられた。ニューヨークも、名誉市民になんないかって言われたけど恐ろしいから断ったんだ、なんて言ってましたけどね。うん、そのぐらいあの、こう大事にしてもらって。

で、あーと、ドイツとかフランスの博物館なんかには、よく呼ばれて行ったし。で特別のコーナーも設けてもらってるみたいだし。で、なんだかんだ、フィンランドには弟の博物館ができたとかって。すごく、アメリカ・ヨーロッパの人には理解してもらって。これが、ちょっと、残念・・・なんですよね。もっと日本の人に、その何分の一かでいいから、ううん理解してもらえれば、もっといいのになぁと。残念でしょうがないんですけどね。

だから隣の国の韓国の人にまで言われたもんね。あの昔、あの韓国のテレビ、文化放送つったな、があの、取材に来たことがあるんですよ。で、その時に言われたのが、この工芸の里の人たちでは、は、みんな国の保護を受けているんですか?って、例えば人間国宝になってるんですか?って。でなんか韓国のソウルの近くにもやっぱり似たような、場所があって、そこにいる職人たちはみな韓国の日本でいう人間国宝だって言うんだよ。「ここは、も、そうなんですか?」って言われて「いや、ここはみんな個人で。県が作ったんですけど、みんな個人で借金をして、自分たちで立てて、自分たちで応援してやってるんです」って言ったらビックリしちゃって。「あぁ、それは気の毒ですね」って言われてしまって。(laughs)職人は国の宝なんですけどねぇなんて。韓国勝った、って言われて。(laughs)その時悔しかったね。(laughs)

[18:10]

ポーラ:で、あのうまた仙台の話ですが、ローカルコミュニティーとどのような関係がありますか。あの、特別な活動や展示をしますか。

廣井:はぁ、仙台で。

ポーラ:はい。

廣井:ここへ来てからはね…ここへ来てからは、あまりないんですけど、来る前は、ええとね、前・・・ここ来るまで、ええと何年間だ、三年か四年かな、あの駅前の、今ちょっとなくなっちゃったんだけどあの、十字屋デパートって、デパートがあったんですけど、そこで三年か四年、お正月に毎年、あの展示即売会をやってましたね。で、その十字屋デパートっていうのは小さなデパートで、あんまり人が入らないデパートだったんですけど、この江戸独楽の展示、お正月やる時だけは、なんか行列ができたんだって。であの、垂れ幕でっかいの付けて、えらい喜ばれて。十字屋デパート、仙台できて、初めてなんだ、あのお正月、夜中に行列ができんのは、なんて。

でそれ三年・・・で四年目にこっちへ来たから、四年目もやってくれって言われたけど、こっちに移ってしまったので、四年目はできなかったのかな。そしたら十字屋デパート潰れてしまったけどね。へへへ・・・。で今、今何になってんのかな、あそこな。何かになってっと思うんですけど。あダイエーと合併って・・・ダイエーと合併したっつったかな・・・。とにかく店はなくなっちゃったんですよね。デパートは。で、仙台でやったのは、十字屋デパートが大々的にやったのがその三年ぐらいと、後は・・・後はあまりやらなかったんだよな。後はたまにあのう・・・デパートであのう、こけし展やる、とか物産展やるからって、その時に、一緒に出したくらいで。あんまりなかったですね。であとこっちに来てしまったので。でも、そういうのやらなくても、あの好きな人がうちに尋ねて、いっぱい来てくれたんで、あのう売るのには不自由はなかったんですけどね。であとこっちへ来て、こっちへ来ればもう、お客さんがどんどん来てくれたし。

ポーラ:で、あの国際展覧会の機会することはありましたか。

廣井:あぁぁ・・・国際のね。なんかね、ううん、なんかよく分かんないんだけど、ううんと、あったことはあったな。直接ではないんですけども、その、集めた人が・・・ううんと、どこだったかな。アメリカではなかったですよね。ヨーロッパのどっかだね、フランスだか・・・あぁ、ドイツか。ドイツの博物館・・・で、なんか展覧会するからって言うので。持ってるものを寄付したんだか、飾って、ただ飾ったのか。あとドイツの方が来て、やっぱりその博物館の人が来て、うちの品物を見て、何点か買っていったこともあるし。

あとね、あぁ面白かったのは、あのう、フランスのあそこはどこだっけ。えぇ、仙台と姉妹都市になってるのが。ん?なんつったけな?えぇと、なんつったっけ・・・あれ、ちょっと忘れたぞ、名前。フランスの都市で仙台市と姉妹都市になってる・・・えぇ、ちょっと、レンヌ、レンヌ・・・ん?レンヌ??レンヌ、レンヌっつったかな。ちょっと、名前ちょっと忘れてる、レンヌ、かも分かんないけど。そこの市長さんが、独楽集めてたんだって。んで江戸独楽、が欲しくて、であのなんか交流で、あのそのレンヌ市から仙台市に、あの市の職人とかレンヌ市の市民が、来たことがあるんですよ。でそのときあの、工芸の里へ仙台市議の人が連れてきたのね、何人か。で、そっち行ってなんかこう色々話ししながら、こっから見えるんですよ。一人ね、赤ら顔のこの背のでっかい人がこっちの方を指さして、しきりに何か言ってるのね。でみんなしてこう、引き留めて、そすっとこう振り払ってこう、すごい勢いで駆け出したけど、こっちはビックリして、えらいことになったなと思って。オォ!って言ってたらオォ!っとか言って入ってきて、この鳴り独楽を、こういうの欲しいんだよ、なんて。で通訳の人、こう来たっけ、独楽を集めてて、で江戸独楽も何点かあるんだけど、どうしてもその鳴り独楽が、欲しくて、いたんだけども、仙台で作ってるのを聞いてるから、もう是非こう行きたかったんだって。でも今来ようとしたらみんなで引き留めるから、なんて、無理して引き払って、こっちに来たんだ、なんて。で、鳴り独楽ないですか。で鳴り独楽ちょうどその時あったんで、でプレゼントしてやったら、もうものすごく喜んで帰ってくれましたけどね。そんなことがありましたね、そう言えば。

[24:30]

ポーラ:そしてそのあのドイツとフランスの話はいつでしたか。何年-

廣井:あぁぁ…それは結構前だね。十…十五・六年になるかな。十五・六年にはなりますね。あと…ん待てよ、もっと前かな。二十年くらいになっか・・・?あぁ・・・ん?

うん、ううんと博物館で展覧会したときは…ちょうど二十年前だ。

仙台市の博物館、博物館でね。この江戸独楽の、展示をやったことがあるんですよ。そのときに、あとすごかったのは、あの博物館全部この江戸独楽を飾って、でそのときにランディス先生に、あの英語で、一言でこの江戸独楽を表現する、何か言葉ないかってんで、そのとき初めてランディス先生に「アンビリーバブル (unbelievable)」って言葉を聞いて。であの博物館の入口にでっかく「アンビリーバブル (unbelievable) 江戸独楽」って書いてあった。それからね、間もなくしてからテレビだのなんだので、この頃アンビリーバブルって言うようになったのね。そのときは、だから、日本でアンビリーバブルって言葉流行らしたのはランディス先生かも分かんない。へへへ。それまで、そういうこと知らなかったものね。だっけ、江戸独楽がその言葉にぴったりなんだって言われて。あぁそういうもんなだ、と思って、いたんですけどね。えぇ…ちょうど、んだから、またランディス先生が・・・うんと、あんときは…うん、やっぱり十七・八年前、前かな。その博物館で展覧会やった後だもんな、レンヌの市長が来たのは。で十、十七・八年前ですね。

その後、メキシコの国立博物館の館長さんだっていう人が、来たことがあるんですよ。ものすごいテンションの高い人でね。ウワアとこう大騒ぎして。もうフウォー!なんて、ものすごい大騒ぎして。女の人なんですけど。国立、メキシコの国立博物館の館長さんだったんだって。ものすごい喜んでくれて。で、結果どうなったんだかちょっと覚えてないんだけど。ふふふふ。もう大騒ぎして踊りまくってね。へへへ。すげえー、なんて思って。