Tag Archives: history

Newspaper article 新聞記事: “Edo tops” made in Sendai 仙台でつくられる「江戸ごま」

Hiroi-sensei has appeared many times in Japanese newspapers. Below is a translation of an article entitled “’Edo tops’ made in Sendai .” 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。「仙台でつくられる「江戸ごま」」という記事も掲載しました。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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“Edo tops” made in Sendai

These endlessly beautiful items…
“For me, there is only this path.” – Hiroi

When you say “tops,” you might imagine tops you’d play with outdoors, but these are “land tops” (jigoma 地独楽). Edo tops are a type of tops known as known as “parlor tops”“(zashikigoma 座敷独楽),  which you enjoy by spinning them in your home and decorating with them. In addition to single-block tops, there are all kinds of tops that rely on centrifugal force.

The blueprints for the tops are in my arms

“Even if you ask me how many types [of tops] there are,r” says artisan Hiroi Michiaki of the tops he has vividly colored, “If you were to categorize them like kokeshi, it would probably be over a thousand. Well, probably about 600.”

To the question “are there blueprints?” Hiroi says but one word: “No.” When I reply, “Then they must be in your head, right?”, he says, “No, there’s nothing in my head. But these arms have memorized them. My hands move on their own.” I’m speechless for a little while at this perhaps profound statement.

Edo tops—Wax polish makes the bright colors–the characteristic red but also purple, green, and yellow– stand out all the more. Once, these tops were intended for the children of high-status warriors and wealthy merchants, having little to do with commoners. As such, the finishing touches were minded to the smallest detail, and except for the single block tops, “they express the characteristics and old tales of each time period, and there’s no [top] without a history.”

This is something that can be said for all of Hiroi’s wooden toys, and even if they appear to have no origin story, that is simply a product of having forgotten it in the present day.

The spirit (kokoro) that protects tradition

When asked about the “spirit” of continuing to make Edo tops, a central part of [Japanese] wooden toy traditions, he dismissed this question smoothly, saying, “[Tops] are not something to tout as tradition. Because I was born an artisan, there’s no other path for me.”

On the subject of successors, he first said, “Right now about ten people are coming [to apprentice],” seemingly unworried, but added regretfully, “It would be difficult for them all to inherit [the practice].”

Why Edo tops in Sendai?

“During the war, we evacuated to Miyagi. We lost our chance to return to Tokyo,” Hiroi said, adding, “In Tokyo, there are many people in Tokyo with resources and many people who understand [our work]. And people who suggested I come back.” Saying that his younger brother was working hard on making tops in Tokyo now, Hiroi seems determined to preserve the Edo top tradition here in Sendai’s Fukuhara.

Hiroi also makes kokeshi, but doesn’t seem very interested in them.“Kokeshi are easier to make compared to tops, and sell well, but…” he said, although he was unable to identify the reason why he wasn’t motivated to make them.

There are Edo artisans here

Hiroi’s wife, listening to us nearby, says, “When we have an order deadline approaching he procrastinates. Then when he starts, he’ll skip meals and stay up turning the lathe late into the night. If he’s even a little unsatisfied with the result, he’ll just toss it out.” Because these tops now are being gifted to an orphanage , Hiroi-san has stopped tossing out ones he doesn’t like.  

Hiroi, who was born an artisan, aims only to create the best products. Right now, he only makes direct sales aimed at about sixty people without going through wholesalers. His reason is that “if you sell them in stores, they can mark them up to absurdly high prices.”

“Despite all the effort you put in, you don’t make much money. It’s the kind of work only an idiot could do,” Hiroi says [joking], finally adding, “This is the only path for me, now and forever.”

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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。

 

About Akiu Craft Park


In this interview segment, Hiroi-sensei speaks briefly about the establishment of the Akiu Craft Park and the types of artisans who live and work there. You can visit the official webpage for Akiu at this link, which explains about the many artisans working there. The page also includes an option to translate it (via machine) into foreign languages.

Akiu Craft Park is about 35-40 minutes by bus from Sendai, Japan, located in the small town of Akiu. From Sendai station, board the bus going towards Kawasaki-machi (かわさきまち行) at the #63 bus stop, getting off at Akiu kōgei no sato (秋保工芸の里). This will be the purple Takeya tours bus, the タケヤ交通<秋保・川崎 仙台西部ライナ>. Some schedule changes may occur in winter months.

A scanned version of the Akiu Craft park pamphlet is uploaded in the Media section of our page.

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[Segment 1, 00:30:07]

Paula Curtis: And let’s talk a little about Akiu. When did you start living at Akiu Craft Park?

Hiroi Michiaki: It was about twenty-five years ago.  That was from when it opened, but some years before that, about three years, ummm about twenty–eight years ago, I guess. I was asked “We’re going to make something like a craft village in Miyagi prefecture, so won’t you join us?” And many [artisans] came together and talked, came to the prefecture and talked. In the town it had gradually become difficult to do our work, you know? Because it was loud, or the garbage would pile up, it was said to be a nuisance, and so it became difficult to do our work, and the topic came up that we wanted leave the town and make a place where no one would say anything [about it] to us. And not just people doing the same occupation, but people of many different types of work joined us. And we negotiated with the prefecture and it slowly moved along. Akiu wasn’t the city of Sendai, it was the town of Akiu. And [we negotiated with] the town of Akiu, with Akiu and the prefecture, and there was a mountain, so we made it there, and it was said that we should all move there. There were about twenty, twenty of us at the beginning. And gradually we ended up with about twelve houses in the end, I think. We had the land for twelve homes, but in the end about eight were constructed and there were four open lots. And after one more person came, and that person bought and combined two lots. Even now there’s two left. Umm… in the end, when we opened—huh? Wait. Did Tsuruko-san buy it after we opened? There were eight houses when we opened, eight people. And two or three years later another house went up and we were nine houses. And now it’s nine houses. And it’s been the same ever since.

Paula: What kind of specialties did the other artists have?

Hiroi: Umm… ah, it’s easiest to understand if you look at the pamphlet… You’ll see here. Ahh this is a kokeshi maker. The one next door to here. And this is us. And this is that one.

[Segment 2, 00:00:00]

Hiroi: These are tea ceremony utensils. He makes tea ceremony utensils. And then there’s– like the one over there, the cabinet next to the toilet– Sendai [style] cabinets. Next to [the tea ceremony person] there’s a man who does this carving. Across from him is the woman who came later [after we set up Akiu Craft village], who does textiles. She joined us after. And next to her of course is a kokeshi maker. That person is originally from Akiu and made kokeshi in Akiu. He’s the only person originally from here.

And next to him is a bogwood [carver], and he’s also now the only person in the entire country [who has that skill]. He’s called a “bogwood artisan” [umoregi saiku]. This is something particular to Sendai… there’s something called “brown coal” (lignite) that [is formed] before it becomes coal, and wood that is buried in and mixes with that brown coal– it comes from the brown coal class [of materials]– what should I call it? It’s more or less this is wood that has been buried and carbonized. If you carve it into things it’s gorgeous, so it’s a famous thing from Sendai, and there used to be a number of artisans [who carved bogwood], but now there’s only one.

And this [other] one is next to him, and he’s a, you know, sensei of traditional kokeshi. When I was taught [kokeshi making] it was Wagatsuma-san. Is he in this area now? So, for people of the same craft it’s two houses, two kokeshi makers, or is it three? Ahh. There’s three doing kokeshi. Oh, I also did it, so it’s four. Well, at any rate there’s a lot of kokeshi makers. Mm. Other than the kokeshi makers there’s one, two, three, four houses. Mm five? And there were four places that did kokeshi, but not just kokeshi but other pieces that were made using the lathe, well, including Edo tops, and there were four of them. And that’s nine.

秋保工芸の里について

今回のインタビューでは、廣井先生が秋保工芸の里ができた経緯や工芸の里に住みモノづくりをしている職人たちについて触れている。秋保工芸の里の公式ウェブサイトはこちらのリンクから。ウェブサイトは(機械による)翻訳機能もついており各言語での閲覧も可能。

秋保工芸の里は宮城県の仙台市からバスで35〜40分ほど離れた小さな町、秋保にある。仙台駅からは63番のバス停で、かわさきまち行に乗り、秋保工芸の里で下車。タケヤ交通<秋保・川崎 仙台西部ライナー> 冬季に関しては時刻表に変動あり。

秋保工芸の里のパンフレットはメディアのページで閲覧できる。

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[Segment 1, 00:30:07]

ポーラ・カーティス:では、少し、あのう、秋保についての、あのう、話に入りますが、あのう、いつ秋保工芸の里に住むことになりましたか。

廣井道顕:ちょうど二十五年前。ここが、オープンしたですけど、その何年前、三年ぐらい前だから、うんんと今から二十、八ヵ年前、八年ぐらい前かな。あの今度うんと、宮城、県で、あのう、こういう工芸の里みたいなのを作るから、一緒に行かないかって声をかけてもらって。で色々集まって話して、で県に行って話して。であのう街中でだんだんあのう、仕事がやりにくくなってきたんですよね。あのう、うるさいとか、ゴミが立つからとかって、公害だ何だって言われて、仕事がだんだんやりにくくなってて、何とかこう、そういう街中から出て、誰にも何も言われない場所を作りたいなっていう話で。であのう、同じ同業ばかりでなくて、色んな異業種の人たちとも一緒になって。ほんで県に交渉して、ではっていうことで、この秋保、まだ仙台市でなかったんですね、秋保は秋保で、秋保町だったんですけど。で秋保町、秋保と、それから県の、山があるから、でそこを、作って、そこにあのうみんな移るように、したらいいんじゃないかっていうことで。最初二十、二十人ぐらいいたんですよ。で、だんだんだんだん煮詰まってって、最終的に、ええ十二件になったのかな。で順で十二ヶ所土地作ったんけど、結果、入ったのが、うーんと八軒。で空いている場所が四ヶ所あって、で後から、一人、入ってきて、その一人の人が二ヶ所まとめて買って。で今も二ヶ所残ってるんですけど。うーん、で結果的に、オープンした時は、うん?待てよ。オープンの後でツルコさんが買ったのか。オープンした時は八軒だったんですね、八人だったのね。それから二年か、三年ぐらいして一軒入って九軒になった。今九軒で。そのままずっと今も続いてるんですけど。

ポーラ:どのような専門ですか。

廣井:ええと、うんだから、あれ、パンフレット見ると一番分かりいい・・・ここで分る。あぁこれがこけし屋さん。こっちの隣。で、ここはうちね。でこれがそっちの。

[Segment 2, 00:00:00]

廣井:これはあのお茶の道具。茶道具を作っている人なんですけど。あとそれからそっちの向かいの・・・トイレの脇が箪笥、仙台箪笥。で、その隣がこの彫刻、やっている人で。その向かいっ側の人がこれ後から入ってきた織物をやってる人。この人が後から入ってきたんですけど。でその隣がやっぱりこけし屋さん。この人は元々 秋保の人で。で秋保でこけしを作って、いた人なんですよね。で地元の人、ただ一人なんですけど。

で後はその隣がこれ埋もれ木って、これもあの、もう全国でただ一人になっちゃったんです。埋もれ木細工っていうの、やっている人なんですけど。これ仙台独特のもので、あのう・・・石炭になる前に亜炭というのがあって、その亜炭にまざって埋もれ木っていう、亜炭層から出てきた、あのう、なんというかな。炭化したような、要するに埋もれている木なんですけど。それ削ってこうやるとすごく素晴らしいのができるので。で仙台の名物で、何人も職人さんいたんですけど今たった一人になっちゃってんの。

で、これ、これがその隣で、これがほら、あのう、伝統こけしの先生。私が教わった先生のところ、我妻さんってね。でこの近辺なのか、今。だからあのう、同業の方は二軒、こけし屋さん・・・あ二軒、三軒か。あぁ。こけしやってた人は三軒、あぁ俺もやってたから四軒か。ま、こけし屋さんが多いね。うん。こけし屋さん以外が一店、二店、三軒、四軒。んー五軒か。でこけしやってた 、こけしばかりでなく、こういう轆轤っていうんで色々、ま江戸独楽も含めてですけど、そういうのが四軒で。で九軒ですね。

 

Janell’s Life of Entertainment

In this post, Janell describes how her gift for impersonation and desire to entertain led to her meeting Hiroi in Sendai.

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Janell LandisYou see, it all comes down to my puppets. And you haven’t gotten–[47:27]

Malina Suity [47:30] I was going to ask you about your puppets. You mentioned working with puppets in America, as well. When did you start–

Janell [47:45] Well I started when my brother went–and my family–I was working in the summer camp, cooking, and helping to clean up and stuff. And my brother and sister and my mother and father went to New York City to visit my older sister who was working for Exxon, or Esso at that time, in the Rockefeller Center area. In the basement there, in one of those malls, he found little monkey puppets. And so he bought two and he gave me one. And that’s what started me with the puppetry. That was back in, hmm, ‘40– see, I graduated from college in ‘48, and this was before college. So around ‘45, ‘46 I started. I used to do imitations and impersonations.

One time I heard on the radio, Fred Waring had one [a comedy bit] where you push buttons and change the stations and then you get a funny connection. And I had a routine using spoons pushing the button and going from one to the other and I had ZaSu Pitts and Bette Davis and roosters and all kinds of stuff.

So that was what started me, and then, when I got the puppet I started with puppets then. And I have them [still], they’re getting ready, I’m going to have a little show coming up next month. But, I have them separated as to the ones that I started with, and then, when I was in Japan I met a wonderful woman who was really creative and she made me twenty-four puppets. Rabbits, and a bear, and an octopus. All kinds.

Malina [49:50] What was her name?

Janell [49:51] Her name was Michii Sato. And she’s gone now, but she was a wonderful friend. One of the teachers at Miyagi, Mr. Ishii, he was a teacher of Japanese and at one time the head of his department there too. He introduced me to her when I first went to Sendai after language study. And she made me a grandma and a grandpa, wonderful puppets uh, and started with that.

And when I was on a TV show for a year, teaching homemakers English with Mrs. Amano’s help, uh, I had three other puppets she made me. A boy and a girl and a mother. And after every show, thirty minute show, at the close we would review what we went through with these puppets so the children would talk to their mother and answer.  So, then I was asked by a man in our church in America if I could use puppets and do a Sunday school program, you know for a yearly program, but anyway at that time Michii Sato made me twenty four puppets. And I never got to use them to make that.

***

Malina [55:45]: And you mentioned doing a TV show? How did you get into that?

Janell: That was through the man that later, after that, he’s the one that got into contact with my top teacher. But when I was teaching at Miyagi in the college, I would have juniors and seniors taking a course, not compulsory. What’s the word I’m searching for? A course that elect–you elect. This one–that year I had a woman named uh, what was her name before marriage? After she graduated from Miyagi she married Mr. Amano who was working for the TBS radio and television station. And um, they asked me, they asked me to have this program for housewives. It was half an hour everyday, Monday through Friday, and Amano-san’s wife, my former student, was my associate. She would use the Japanese to translate and I would always be speaking in English. And she could use English too. So, it was funny, they asked me…they set, up until they set a date and then I thought I was finished, but um, they wanted to keep it on. And I had only gotten permission for one year from my school representative. I said, I couldn’t continue that program more than one year. But the way they had said it sounded, to them it sounded, like forever, but to me it sounded like the end.

It was at that time then, that Amano-san, Mr. Amano, and his associate at TBS asked me to do this program for New Year’s with Mr. Hiroi the top maker. And that was 1981, we taped it and then it was broadcast on the 3rd of January 1982. And then I was accepted by Mr. Hiroi as an apprentice. And from that time I worked first in his home on the lathe, and then he got me in contact with a man who made a lathe for me.

Jan’s Cultural References:

See ZaSu Pitts in action: view a video of her singing “Your Mother!” in 1934’s RKO Sing and Like It

See Bette Davis in one of her iconic roles, as Julie in William Wyler’s 1938 Jezebel, a Warner Brothers film. 

Listen to Fred Waring introduce the song “Buckle Down, Winsocki” from the musical Best Foot Forward on Command Performance in 1942, right around the time Jan would have been listening. 

Photographs of Janell and her puppets via Janell Landis.

エンターテイナーのジャネル

物まねの才能を生かして人を楽しませたいという思いが廣井先生との出会いにつながった、その経緯についてジャネルが語ってくれた。

===

マリナ:あなたの操り人形について訊こうと思っていたんです。アメリカで人形を使って仕事をしてたこともあるって言ってたから。いつから…

ジャネル:そうね、兄と…家族が行ってから始めたわね…私サマーキャンプで働いていたのよ、料理したり、掃除の手伝いをしたりなんかして。両親と弟と妹は、当時ニューヨークのロッカフェラー・センターのあたりにあるエクソンモービル(元エッソ)社に勤めていた姉に会いにニューヨークに行っていたの。そのへんにあるモールの地下で、小さいサルの人形を見つけてきてね。2つ買ってきて1つは自分に、もう1つは私にくれたの。あれは、ええと、40年…そうよね、48年に大学を卒業したでしょ、あれは大学前の話だから。だから1945年とか46年とかに始めたのね。よく物まねをしていたわ。

一度ラジオでね、フレッド・ワーミングが出てたのだけど、ボタンを押してラジオのチャンネルを変えると、音が混ざり合っておかしな繋がり方をしたりしたじゃない?私はスプーンを使ってボタンを押してチャンネルを次々変えたりしてたから、ザスピッツとベティ・デイビスの声と雄鶏の聞き声だとかいろんなものを混ぜて遊んでたの。そこから始めたのよね。

それからサルの人形をもらって、操り人形もやったわ。それからはね、もう準備万端で、翌月には小さいショーをやることになったの。でも、物まねと人形は、始めたときのように、別々に分けてやっていた。でも日本にいたときに本当に独創的で素敵な女性に出会ってね。私のために操り人形を24個も作ってくれたの。ウサギだとか、クマ、それにタコ。いろんな種類の。

マリナ:その女性のお名前は?

ジャネル:サトウ・ミチイさん。もう亡くなってしまったけど、素晴らしいお友達だったわ。宮城で教えてたときの先生に、イシイ先生っていう国語の先生がいて、一度学科長だったこともあったの。私が日本語を勉強した後で初めて仙台に行ったときにイシイ先生がサトウさんを紹介してくれたの。サトウさんは私に、おじいさんとおばあさんの人形を作ってくれて、それで、始めたのよ。

1年くらいテレビに出て、アマノさんに協力してもらいながら主婦に英語を教えるための番組で、えっと、サトウさんが作ってくれた人形が他にも3つあってね。男の子と女の子とお母さんの人形。30分間の番組の後、毎回最後には出てきた内容のおさらいをするのだけど、それを人形でやったの。子ども達がお母さんにお話しして答えてもらえるようにって。そしたら、私が所属するアメリカの教会の男性から、日曜学校のクラスを人形を使ってやってくれないかと頼まれたの、でもまぁとにかく、そのときにサトウ・ミチイさんが24個の人形を作ってくれたの。でもそのクラスのために人形を使うことはなかったわね。

***

マリナ:テレビの番組に出ていたって言いましたよね?番組に出ることになった経緯は?

ジャネル:それは、あとで、ある男性を通じてなんだけどね、うちの学校の校長と知り合いだった人なんだけど。宮城の大学で私が教えていたときに、3,4年生のクラスを教えていたの。必修ではないけど。何というの?自由クラス。自分で決めてやるクラスよ。[選択科目。] あの年の女生徒で、えーとあの人の旧姓って何だったかしら?宮城大を出た後、その子はTBSラジオ・テレビ局に勤めていたアマノさんと結婚したの。それで、そう、訊かれたのよね、主婦向けの番組をやらないかと訊かれたの。30分の番組を土日以外毎日、アマノさんの奥さんは私の元生徒なのだけど、彼女が番組助手で。アマノさんは日本語で訳したりして、私はずっと英語で話すの。アマノさんも英語が話せるし。おかしな話なんだけどね…番組が終了する日を決めて、それまでやったら 私はもう終わりにすると思ってた、でも、アマノさん達は番組を終わりにしないで続けて欲しいと思ってたの。1年だけって約束で番組をやらせてもらえるように学校に許可を取っていたから。私言ったのよ、1年以上は続けられませんって。でもアマノさんたちの言い方だと番組は永遠に続くって感じの言い方で、私にとっては終了するって響きだったのよ。

ちょうどその時期に、アマノさんのご主人とTBSにいる彼の助手が、廣井先生という独楽職人と一緒に新年の特番に出て欲しいって頼んできたの。あれは1981年だったわね、撮影しておいたものを1982年の1月3日に放送したの。それから廣井先生が私を弟子にしてくれたのよ。それからは、廣井先生の家にある旋盤を使って習い始めたけど、その後 私用の旋盤を作ってくれる人を紹介してくれたの。

ジャネルの話の参考:

ゼイスー・ピッツ:1934年の RKO Sing and Like Itで“Your Mother!” という歌を歌っているヴィデオ

ベティ・デイヴィスの最も有名な役:『黒蘭の女』のジュリー、 ワーナー・ブラザーズ、1938年

フレッド・ウェアリングが『Best Foot Forward 』というミュージカルの歌「Buckle Down, Winsocki」を「Command Performance」(1942年)のラジオ番組で紹介する。これはジャネルが聞いているころからのもの。

Photographs of Janell and her puppets via Janell Landis.

Jan, the Feminist

In this post, Jan discusses how she developed as a feminist, her desire to share her point of view with her students, and her unique position as an unmarried American woman in Japan.

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Malina Suity: [1:00:42]: When you were working as a teacher at Miyagi, what were your–did you have any particular duties other than just teaching classes? What were your classes like?

Janell Landis: Um, well. The classes were, as I said, were sometimes with junior high school girls. And that was about fifty kids in one room and reviewing the English studies that they had with their Japanese teachers. They had me twice a week and the other teachers every day. And so it was back up for the Japanese teachers, and then that was true in senior high too. In college, I was given an opportunity with the juniors and seniors to have these elective courses. And then I attempted to really concentrate on some of the issues that women would face. And that’s when my feminist years developed. And I saw some of the girls develop too. And one of them ended up being, working on the wonderful program north of Tokyo that was involved with educating workers from other Asian countries and for commuting to work and so on. [1:02:09]

***

Malina [1:09:50] You mentioned your development as a feminist and working with women’s issues. Can you describe your experience as a woman in postwar Japan?

Janell: Yes. Uh, it was, my own conversion was when I was going with a group of people from New Jersey to what they called the God Box. To a Riverside area where the national church of these mainline denominations was located. And I went into a drug store while we were waiting for the car and I bought the first magazine of Ms. and that changed my life. And I didn’t see…what was your question again?

Malina: Um

Janell: I’m ready to get off of it.

Malina: It’s uh, being a woman in Japan.

Janell [1:10:58]: Oh, a woman in Japan. Well, because of that conversion in the States when I went back. I had the privilege in some of these elective classes to show what women were doing in other countries or so on. So, I myself branched out. But I had a reaction of one of my female Japanese teachers, she thought I was degrading the men. And uh, like I was anti-man. And that really hurt me in a way. I didn’t ever feel like I would, that I would, ever degrade my fellow men that were working on the faculty. I was cautioned then, to be careful not to be too demanding.

But um, like I said, being a single woman. I was my own self and I think I got a little bit different treatment than a wife would. And she would have opportunities that I didn’t have. But I never begrudged the difference. Each of us is given a walk and we have to walk our walk, own walk. We can’t imitate somebody else’s trot, but uh. I never felt…well let’s see I can’t say never. There were times when being a woman in postwar Japan might have been more difficult. But, being an American woman, being a single woman. [laughs] I had some freedoms that my Japanese women didn’t have. I was always–In the first years when things weren’t as progressive, I never got invited to the weddings. But after how many years there, it was like, if they had the American teacher there that was a real special thing. I got took to so many weddings and their parties. But, it was rarely that we were in the weddings. Many of them were held in a Shinto temple, but we were having the wedding parties in these big hotels or these big wedding parlors. And they’d spend a fortune and give everyone a present and so on. But I, in the latter years, I was one of the people they called. [1:14:02]

For more information on Ms. Magazine and the impact it had on women like Jan, read this oral history from New York Magazine.

Photograph of Janell and English Department staff at Miyagi Gakuin via Janell Landis.

 

フェミニスト、ジャネル・ランディス

ジャネルがフェミニストとして成長する過程や、生徒たちにジャネル自身の意見を共有したいという強い思い、そして日本に住む未婚のアメリカ人女性という立場について語っている。

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マリナ・スーティ:宮城で教師として働いていたとき、あなたは―、ただ授業を持つ以外に特別な仕事はありましたか?授業はどんな感じでしたか?

ジャネル・ランディス:そうねぇ。授業は、まぁさっき言ったけれど、時には女子中学生に教えることもあったの。15人くらいの子たちが一つの部屋に集まって、日本人の先生がやっていたような英語の勉強をしていたの。私は週2回教えていて、他の先生は毎日。だから私は日本人教師の補助みたいなものだったし、高校の授業でも同じだった。大学では、1、2年生の選択科目を教える機会が与えられたの。だから女性が向き合わなければならない問題について専念して教えようと考えたわ。私がフェミニストとして開花した時期だった。学生の中にも何人かフェミニストとして成長した子がいて。中でも1人、東京でアジアの国から出稼ぎに来ている労働者への教育を支援するような素晴らしい活動をするようになった子がいたわ。

***

マリナ:先ほどフェミニストとして成長したことや女性が向き合う問題について触れましたね。戦後の日本においてご自身が女性として経験したことを教えてもらえますか?

ジャネル:いいわよ。そう、あれは、ニュージャージー州から来た人たちとニューヨークのゴッド・ボックス※を何て呼ぶかってことについて話していたときだったわ。主だった宗派の教会があるリバーサイド地域へ向かったときね。 車を待っている間に私は薬屋さんに寄って、初出版の『Ms.』という雑誌を買ったのだけど、それが私の人生を変えたの。当時は分からなかったけど…質問はなんだったかしら?

マリナ:あのう…

ジャネル:話戻しましょうね。

マリナ:えっと、女性として日本で生活することについて。

ジャネル:あぁ、日本で暮らす女性。そうね。アメリカに戻ったときにした会話があったからだったわね。選択科目のいくつかで、他の国では女性がどんなことをしているのかとか色々と教える機会に恵まれたの。それで、私自身の考えも広がったわ。でも、ある日本人の女性教師から、私が男性を卑下しているって反発があったの。私が、まぁ、反男性主義者みたいな。本当に傷ついたわ。そんなこと考えたこともなかったのよ、私が、そんな、一緒に頑張って働いている男性たちを見下すようなことをしようだなんて。その時に、あまり、きついフェミニストにならないように気を付けないと、って思った。

でもそうね、さっき言ったけど、独身女性として。私は私自身でいることができたし、誰かの奥さんっていうのとはちょっと違った扱いをされたわね。きっと誰かの奥さんだったら独身の私が得られなかった経験があったんでしょうね。でもその違いを嫉ましく思ったことはなかった。人はそれぞれの道が用意されてて、自分自身の道を歩まないといけないんだもの。他の人の道を真似して歩んだりできないんだから。でも、まぁ。私は絶対に…まぁ、絶対になんて言えないのよね。戦後の日本で女性として生きることは時に困難なことだったかもしれないわ。でも、アメリカ人女性として、独身女性として。私は日本人の女友達よりも自由だったわね。私はいつも– まだ世の中が積極的に進歩しているとは言えなかった最初の数年間、誰も私を結婚式に招待しなかった。でも歳月が過ぎれば、アメリカ人の先生がいることがすごく特別なことみたいな扱いになった。結婚式やらパーティーにたくさん呼ばれるようになった。でも、結婚式自体に行くことは滅多になかった。ほとんどが神道の寺社で執り行われたけど、結婚式のパーティーは大きなホテルとか式場でやってたから。大枚をはたいて披露宴をして、みんなにプレゼントを配ったりしてた。でも私は、何年経っても、呼ばれる側の人間だった。

※ゴッド・ボックス: ニューヨーク州、マンハッタンのリバーサイド通りにある19階建てのオフィスビルで、アメリカにある主だった教会や宗教関連の非営利団体がオフィスを置いているため通称ゴッド・ボックスと呼ばれている

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ジャネルのようなアメリカの女性たちに大きな影響を与えたMs.誌の誕生についてはこちらのNew York Magazineに載るオーラルヒストリーの特集をご覧ください。

以上の写真はジャネル・ランディス(右)と宮城学院女子大学英文学部の事務員です。

Hiroi’s early experiences as a woodworker

In this interview segment, Hiroi-sensei describes his early experiences as a woodworker in Sendai selling kokeshi dolls before he settled on reviving his family’s tradition of making Edo-style tops. He discusses the difficulties his family had selling their goods, despite being discovered as the last surviving family in Japan that made Edo-style tops.

This clip has been slightly edited from the original interview for clarity. A transcript of this clip can be found below. And a full transcript of our interview with Hiroi can be found here [forthcoming].

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Young Hiroi-sensei.
Young Hiroi-sensei.

Hiroi Michiaki: Hmmm. Since I first came to Sendai… mmm… there were many [moments that stay in my mind], my father worked in many woodworkers’ shops, and was an artisan. And from that he became independent, and rented a house himself and of course put a lathe in it, and worked wholesaling and subcontracting kokeshi. And, ahh around this time kokeshi, souvenir kokeshi that is, they’re different from the traditional style of kokeshi [you see] now. He was able to sell a lot of those. There was a wholesale shop, and there he subcontracted unpainted objects called shirakiji (blank wood), and worked doing that. And doing that, he said that if he was to make kokeshi he might as well do traditional kokeshi, and he became a person named Wagatsuma-san’s apprentice, and came to [make kokeshi] from the Toogatta kokeshi tradition. And then they were able to sell traditional kokeshi, and it became a kokeshi boom, and they became able to sell them. He took his lathe to Tokyo and [sold them] at performances and department stores. At first he did kokeshi, but kokeshi take a lot of time, so he did tops [instead].

Paula Curtis:   Yes.

Hiroi:   Then, in Tokyo, they said that along with Italy they were going to gather kokeshi. “Native toys” (kyōdō gangu) were [being gathered] here and there in Japan—if it’s Aizu, for example, they have the Akabeko (red cow). People came [here] that were collecting those kinds of native toys and kokeshi. Mmm I was doing tops, but at that time, since I was in Sendai I wasn’t doing Edo tops, but those called Sendai tops or Miyagi tops. Because they were [being sold] at goods shops in Sendai and Miyagi prefecture. And when I did that in Sendai [I made] Sendai tops, and when I was in Miyagi prefecture I did Miyagi ones, tops called Miyagi tops. And they were popular, since they were spinning right in front of you. The people who came to gather the native toys said something like “Where are you really from?” and I said “Actually I’m from Tokyo.” And they were like “Ahh of course!” They said, of course, we thought that in Tokyo, too, long ago there were lots of toys called “Edo tops (edogoma)” but no matter how much we looked, we couldn’t find them. When they said “Have you made them?” I said something like “My family has traditionally done them.” He said, “Ahh! I found them!!” and there was a clamor about it in Tokyo, saying they finally found Edo tops. And my younger brother went to Tokyo. My brother got married in Tokyo and has done Edo tops there ever since. When he has a chance he makes Edo tops here in Sendai. Well, in Sendai, too, to a certain extent we made Edo tops, but people here didn’t understand about them, so even if we sold them they didn’t sell well.

Paula:   Did your family expect you to continue business as a top-maker?

Hiroi:    Mm, that was the only thing to do. Somehow I sold the tops. Like in the past, I thought I might not be able to eat, and in Sendai, just like back then, I wasn’t understood, and I couldn’t sell anything. And I went to Tokyo and it was a situation like I just described, and so I was able to sell my tops there. Though, at that time, rather than Edo tops I actually was working hardest at making the traditional kokeshi.

Paula:    When did you become an independent Edo top maker?

Hiroi:   Hmm… when was it? I don’t remember exactly. Mm… I didn’t really become aware of [when I started working independently, because] I was helping my father. And at some point I started using the lathe. So I don’t exactly what year, what month, what day–it wasn’t like that.

Paula:    About how many years were you an apprentice?

Hiroi:   Mmm, I don’t really know that either… It happens before you know it. At some point I was helping my father and working with my brother, and the three of us came to work together. What year, month, day–it wasn’t set. So I don’t really know how long [I was an apprentice].

Paula:    This is a bit similar to the previous question, but when did you first come to Sendai?

Hiroi:   When I first came to Sendai… Shōwa–What year was it? Twenty-three. It must have been Shōwa 23 [1948].

Paula:    What was your life like there?

Hiroi:    Mmm that time… we rented a room in someone’s house. Rented [just] a room. So how would [you say] we lived, I wonder? Somehow it’s weird to think of it as [properly] living there, but my father was working hard. And… at any rate we went back and forth all over within Sendai. We hadn’t been there long, so [we went] here and there. So even within Sendai we lived in a number of places… One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. We moved seven times.

Paula:   That was before you were married?

Hiroi:    Before.

Paula:    And after you were married…?

Hiroi:   After I was married… umm… After I was married… Ahh. It was once or twice [that we moved]. To here. Umm… in Higashiguchi, Higashi… We got married at the town Higashi shichiban, and moved to Fukurobara, and here. It was twice [until] we were here.

Paula:    In Sendai, well, what sort of memories do you have of the various places [you lived]? Are there any that stand out?

Hiroi:    Mmm I have unpleasant memories, you know. (laughs) There were two places. Really terrible ones, two places where I was bullied, awful places I experienced. But after that, they were all enjoyable. Especially after I was independent. Umm… I had many friends, and it was nice that there were many people my age. It was really fun. In one place, for some reason in one place almost all of the kokeshi makers in Sendai gathered together, and I lived independently and felt like it was a neighborhood community, and there were lots of people doing the same work so it was nice. Even now looking back on it, it was a really a great time [in my life]. And that [time], the son of the sensei who taught kokeshi-making back then, he’s alive now, and even now he’s always saying “That was the best time, wasn’t it?” It was really great.