Category Archives: Uncategorized

Newspaper article 新聞記事: Spreading the charm of 7 workshops gathered together: Akiu Craft Village, open for 20 years

Hiroi-sensei has appeared many times in Japanese newspapers. Below is a translation of an article entitled “Spreading the charm of 7 workshops gathered together:
Akiu Craft Village, open for 20 years” that ran June 23, 2008 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。2008年6月23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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Akiu Business Association members preparing for the Akiu Craft Village 20th Anniversary Exhibition.

Kahoku shinpō (June 23, 2008)

Spreading the charm of 7 workshops gathered together:
Akiu Craft Village, open for 20 years

First collective exhibition

“We want to communicate the culture of artisans.”

Akiu Craft Village (Sendai, Taihaku Ward, Akiu) commemorates its 20th anniversary. The business association of Akiu Craft village, formed by its artisans, will hold their first-ever collective exhibition at Aoba Ward’s Tōhoku Institute of Technology Ichiban Lobby from June 13-25. The exhibition aims to convey the appeal of the traditional crafts in connection with the “Sendai/Miyagi Destination Campaign (DC)” tour bus advertisements, which kicks off in October.

The artisans of the seven workshops in the craft village are exhibiting a total of seventy-six works they have made, including Sendai chests of drawers (tansu 箪笥), kokeshi dolls, tops. Thenstructors and students at the Institute of Technology will hold a a panel demonstrating the working processes of various artisans and their workshop settings. Those attending will also have a chance to make tops and paint at a demo corner.

Hiroi Michiaki (75), the head of the Akiu Association, explained the goal of opening the exhibition, stating, “At the Craft Village our homes and workshops are together, and it’s a valuable space where you can see what an artisan’s life is like. Of course, we want both tourists and people of Sendai to know what Sendai’s artisan culture is like.”

Akiu Craft Village was established with the support of Miyagi Prefecture and the city of Sendai in April 1988. The artisans of the Village have continued to produce art and craft work with the goal of reviving local life skills . This year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary, they are also planning other events besides this collective exhibition. From the end of the July to the end of August, they will open painting workshops aimed for families. During the Sendai/Miyagi Destination Campaign period, they will also have the exhibition works in their workshops and hold concerts.

Kumano Akira (50), the owner of Kumanodō, a Sendai tansu shop, noted, “In Sendai, the number of artisans has been decreasing, and children and younger generations don’t have as many opportunities to experience handmade crafts. In Akiu, I want to increase the number of hardworking artisans.”

 

We are sad to report that on July 27, 2020, Hiroi Michiaki passed away. He was 87 years old. We were very fortunate to be able to interview both Hiroi and Janell before their deaths. Hiroi was a playful, thoughtful person who hoped that the tops he created would make others smile. As we bring the Carving Community project to a close this year, we are deeply grateful to be able to share the interviews from our time with Hiroi and Janell.

2020年7月27日、廣井道顕先生が87歳でお亡くなりになりました。廣井先生とジャネルがこの世を去る前にインタビューを通してお二人とお話しできたことはとても幸運なことでした。廣井先生はお茶目でいて、思慮深く、自分の作った独楽が人を幸せにすることを望む人でした。このプロジェクトは終わりに近づいていますが、廣井先生とジャネルと過ごした時間の一部(インタビュー)を皆さんと分かち合えることに深く感謝します。

ジャネルの独楽: Part 3

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。こちらの独楽は洋風のテーマも伝統的独楽もある。

Newspaper article 新聞記事: Professionals with a Skilled Touch 触の技びと、プロフェッショナルたち

Hiroi-sensei has appeared many times in Japanese newspapers. Below is a translation of an article entitled “Professionals with a Skilled Touch: Whittling – Edogoma Artisan, Hiroi Michiaki” that ran January 1, 2003 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。2003年1月1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 1, 2003)

Professionals with a Skilled Touch: Whittling – Edogoma Artisan, Hiroi Michiaki

Surely there isn’t a single person who doesn’t touch objects during the course of their job. However,  there are those who notably work by cultivating years and years of experience and expertise, polishing the instincts of their fingers and hands. Are they somehow different from those of us with “normal” senses, or is their sense of touch something cultivated through their work? We look at the secrets behind three “professionals of the sense of touch”: a sushi chef, a physician, and an Edogoma (Edo top) artisan.

In harmony with the tools, the object’s form is freed

Rumble, rumble.

He inserts a pre-sized piece of dogwood (mizuki) onto the lathe and whittles it. Hiroi Michiaki, a fourth-generation Edogoma artisan (age 69, Sendai, Taihaku ward), says without hesitation, “I couldn’t do anything without my sense of touch.”

While Hiroi-san switches between his tools like the plane and rasp, and when they touch the top, he knows how they change its smoothness. Bit by bit, without even touching [the top directly] with his hands,he feels how much he should shave off and if there are any nicks in the wood from the vibrations transmitted through the edges of his tools. Hiroi-san experienced the family business of making Edogoma from when he was young. “Before you know it,” he said, “you’re feeling it unconsciously.”

One characteristic of the brightly colored Edogoma is the sheer number of different types of tops,from simple tops to ones delightfully brimming with trick mechanisms to enjoy, like leaping tops (tobigoma) or chasing tops (oikakegoma). Only Hiroi-san and his little brother Masaaki, who lives in Tokyo, have inherited the skill of Edogoma-making. Other than them, [Hiroi-san] has two apprentices.

“You know, even among apprentices, they quickly grasp and remember how to feel for the quality of the top and its spin, and they improve fast, too,” Hiroi remarked. “Whether whittling or polishing [the top], you can be certain [it’s good] by touching it, rather than looking with your eyes.”

福助

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

タイトル:

福助 (fukusuke)
Fukusuke

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日本・中国文化において人気がある人形の福助を表現した独楽である。日本での福助の歴史は十九世紀(江戸時代)頃にさかのぼる。当時は遊女屋や茶屋で幸運をもたらすシンボルとしてよく祭られていた。以来広く使われるようになる。典型的な福助は平伏しているときに正座をしている。今回、廣井先生は福助の独楽ではなく、人形を作った。

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廣井道顕:うんと、これが、これは福助だ。

廣井夫人:うん。

廣井:うんと、福助これはただの福助かな。独楽でないな。置物だな。