Tag Archives: woodworking

廣井先生と独楽づくりの流れ

ここでは独楽をつくるために必要な、難しい工程でもある木工作業について、そして日本の独楽の長い歴史について説明している。

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ポーラ:あのう、弟子を教える時、あの最初の芸術、それとも一番大事なお教えは何でしょうか。

廣井:ううん、一番大事なことか。一番大事なことって何だ。

ポーラ:それとも最初のステップ。

廣井:一番最初と、そんな難しいこと言わなかったからな。好きなんだからやれっていうことで。でとにかく最初は手を、手を添えて、削り方を教えてあげて、誰でもこう分かるように、手をとって教えてやって、であと、こう、徐々に手放して。んで、やるようにして。だから、比較的に速く。ううん、速い人だと、半年ぐらいで、独楽一個ぐらいできるになってましたね。で時間のかかる人は、ずいぶんかかる人はかかってっけども。

もう大体、半年か一年で独楽をあの、こうひねる、弟子の独楽ぐらいまでできるようになってましたね。だから一番大事なことって、特に教えなかったね。自分が覚えようっていう気持ちが一番大事だからね。

でこれはまぁあの昔みたく、何て言うの、もう親の跡はどうしても継がなきゃならないとか、好きでなりたいとかじゃなくて、あのう親がやってれば必ずそいつはやらならなきゃならないんだっていうことで。もう、ほとんど強制的にやらされてた我々はね。ところがほら趣味の人は好きでやるから、うん好きでたまらないで習いたいから、大事なこととか何とかって教える以前にもう好きなんだから、余計なことを言う必要なかったのね。そんで手を添えて、とにかく一個でも、なるべく速く、できるように。すっとあのガタガタでも何でもね、一個できてこうやると、ものすごく喜ぶんですよね。でそれがまた病みつきになって、次また来て、さらにもっといいの作ろうと、自分で頑張るようになって。でずっとしてランディス先生なんか、ずいぶん上手になったんですけどね。あれアメリカに帰らなきゃ今頃相当、上手になってっと思うんだけど、へへへ。

ポーラ:あのう弟子の時間が完了の後、どのようにあの、元の弟子の方と連絡を取り合いますか。

廣井:ううんあのう、別に連絡を取り合うっつうことはないですね。弟子の都合のいいときに習いに来るっていうことで。でこっちから、どうこうって言うことは何もなかったし。で弟子は、やりたいときに来て、ま来たらば教えてやるっていう。そういう感じでしたね。だからその点、かなり自由でしたね。だから何も強制はしてないし。それはあのう、プロの人もアマチュアの人も、一緒。

ポーラ:であのう、弟子の、弟子を教えることですが、日常の弟子に対するレッスンではどのようなことをしますか。

廣井:ううん、馬鹿話だね。でみんな、アハハオホホと笑い、笑い転げて、楽しむだけ楽しんで。というのね、あのう、いろんなしゃべりがうちであるし、そのしゃべりの中にみな、面白い、うん江戸の、粋(いき)とか洒落とかっていう、のはユーモアとかね。そういうのがいっぱい含まれているので、あの堅苦しく、こう講義するような、教室で教えるような、やり方しても、たとえ覚えていても、この面白いものができなくなっちゃうんですね。だからもう、グルっと砕けて、半分は遊んでるように。であのう自由に。

その人の、なんつうの、持ち味でもって。ただあのう、江戸独楽っていう枠はありますけど、その中で、自由に、遊びながら作ってもらって。だから楽しみながら、みんな覚えてもらったと思うんですけど。これは趣味の人もプロの人も一緒だと思うんですけどね。それがないと本当に面白いのができないんですよね。こう、これはこうだからこうしなさい、これはこうだからああしないなんて、教えるのもいいんですけど、すっとみんな同じようなものになっちゃって、面白さがなくなっちゃうのね。で人それぞれほら個性がありますから、その個性を活かすために、自由に、で面白く、楽しみながら作ってもらって。でそれはプロもアマチュアも一緒。

ポーラ:であのう、木の、あのう技術を習得するのなかで一番難しいところは何だと思いますか。まあ独楽だけではなくて…

廣井:あ、一番難しいって言うとね、そのせいかんって、あのう木を木取りすることと、それからあと刃物を作る、鍛冶屋ね。道具作り。それが難しいですよね。道具が上手にできて木取りが上手にできれば、何でもできるんですけど。削るだけだったら本当にあのう、趣味の人でもみんなもできるんですけど、プロとなる、なるとそれだけではプロになれないので、それまでに、轆轤に乗せるまでの、あー前の支度のための、あの木取りって言って、あのこういう原木をこう細かく切って、さっき前田くん今あそこで切ってましたけど、木取りと、あと使ってる刃物、その刃物はあのう作る品物によって、いろんな刃物を自分で考えて、作るんですけど。

それがこう、うまくできないと一人前にはなれないんですよね。それはね、教えも、文使ってなかなか難しいんで、結局自分で覚えるしかないんですけど。ま基本的なことは教えるんですけど。ただほら、鍛冶屋でないからね、ほん、こっちは鍛冶屋は素人だけど自分流でやってるんですけど。まあその自分流を一応教えて、まあそれも、一つ伝統なのかも分からないんですけど。でうちで使ってる道具を教えてやって。で前田君なんかは今、自分で考えて道具なんか自分で作ってますけどね。でそういうふうになってくると一人前なんですけど。で難しいって言えば、むしろそっちのほうですね。

ポーラ:あのう、江戸独楽なんですが、江戸独楽あの、江戸独楽の特徴について少しあの、説明していただけませんか。例えば、まああの、どのように他の独楽と違いますか。

廣井:あぁ…他の独楽と全然違う、よね。あのう、大体他、ま日本に色々な場所にあのう、その土地土地の名物の独楽があるんですけど、それはほとんどがみな外で回す独楽なんですけど。うちのこの江戸独楽は、ま、もちろん外で回す独楽もあるんですけど、ま、ほとんどが、座敷独楽って家の中で遊ぶ、独楽なんですね。でなか、家の中で回して遊んで、まあゲームをしたり、色んな動き見て、楽しんだり。で回さない時はこう飾っておいて、飾って楽しんで。で楽しみ方がいくつもある独楽なんですよね。で、特徴としては、座敷独楽で、家の中で、大体遊ぶ、独楽なんですね。

で種類が多くて。うん、種類が多くなったのも、ええ昔、江戸時代に、あの独楽って日本の場合はね、昔はあの、大昔、もう千年も、二千年も昔は、あのうお正月の元日の朝に、あのう、宮廷で、独楽を回して、それで、その年の、ううん、なんていうか…国の方針を決めてたみたいなんですよね。占い、占いに使ってたんだけどね。でお正月の元日の朝に独楽を回す役の人がいて、独楽を回して、この止まった方角でもって、今年は、あのう豊作になるとか、凶作になるとか、だからこうしなきゃないとか、ああしなきゃならないとか、そういう色々なことを決めてた、のに使ってたみたいで、でその、一つがね、あのう、ここ、新幹線作る時に、名取市で、あの昔の清水遺跡っつったかな、遺跡があったの。で新幹線通すためにその遺跡をほ、発掘したの、ね。したらそこの、井戸の中から、あの、独楽と、それから笛、と櫛と、三つが出てきたんですよ。でその中の一つはあの、高城に県立の民俗博物館っていうところがあるんですけど、そこに保存されてるんですね。今もそう保存されていますけど。

このぐらいの大きさのね、独楽で。で轆轤で間違いなく引いてるの。これは多分日本で一番古いものじゃないかなと思うんですけど、大体千年ぐらい前、だったそうです。でやっぱりそうやってあのう、井戸の中からそうやって笛とか櫛が一緒に出てきたっていうことは、やっぱりあの何かそういう占いとか、おま、なんつったらいいのかな…何かの決め事とか。あと笛と櫛があるっていうことは、なんかお祭り、があったりとか。だから色々な、なんつうのか、なんつったらいいのか、今で言えばなあ。おまじないっていうか、占いっていうか。それでね、やっぱりなんか物事決めてたみたいで。

でその井戸の中にそのいうのがその入って埋まってたっていうことは、あのう、当時、なんつうのあのう、流行り病い、病気、例えば疫痢とか赤痢が流行ると、井戸を埋めたんだそうですね。あの水飲むとほら、伝染するんで。でその井戸はもう使わないように埋めてしまうので、その時にその、ううん、なんつうんだ、いけ、ううん…なんだ生け贄か。生け贄みたいな感じで、そういう独楽とか、櫛とか、普段日ごろ使ってるものを、一緒に埋めたんだそうですね。その跡でないかっていう、話なんですけど。でその独楽はね、間違いなくあの轆轤で引いてるのは間違いないんです。で鉋(かんな)の、目の、鉋目(かんなめ)の跡がついてるし。

であのう、回した跡が残ってるんですよ、あの、独楽の先がね、こう砂で擦れて、丸くなってるの。で何度も回したんですね。だからやっぱり占いに使ったんじゃないかなっていうことで。そ、そこの遺跡のしゅ、この集落の一番偉い人が、あーそれを回して、何か占ってたんじゃないかなって話なんですけどね。でその、時ね、あの、こういう形の独楽なんですけど。こういう形の独楽ですけど……うんとね、こういう形の、独楽なんですけど…でここにね…こういう、こういう風に…模様、鉋の模様が入ってて…でこの辺が擦れてるのね。こう砂でこう擦れて。でここにね、穴ではないんですけど、こうノコギリで切ってビっと折った跡が、穴が開いたようになって、あったのね。こう上から見ると、こういう感じで。でこれ心棒がついていたんでねえかっていうことで、もし心棒がついてれば、うん、大変なこと、大発見だからっていうことで、見てくれって言われて、見に行ってきたんですけど。で見たらば、ここノコで切った跡があって、で切りきれなくてこうビってこう、もいだ、跡なんですね。でそれ言ったら、この時代はノコギリはなかったはずだって。だけどこれ間違いなくノコギリで切った跡だからっつたら、これがまた大発見で。ノコギリの歴史で、ええそうなるとノコギリの歴史が変わるって。でこの時代すでにノコギリがあったっていうことになると大変なことなんだ、なんて。で大騒ぎになって、で独楽も大騒ぎしたけど、そちらのノコギリの方も大騒ぎで。へへへ。歴史が何百年だか遡るとかなんとかってね。そっちの方が大騒ぎになって独楽の方が、あの、永久保存しとくからって触らせられないって。ははは。で今もたぶんあるはずですね。

ポーラ:であの、ランディスさんの江戸、廣井先生からの江戸独楽のコレクションにある芸術品はどのようなものですか。もう少し説明してくださいませんか。

廣井:あぁ。色々ある。あれ、昨日の写真は?

ポーラ:ああ、ま、あのう、明日見て、それを見てちょっとあの先生が一個一個説明できますが、全体としてどのようなテーマがあるかとか、そのような…

廣井:ああ、テーマは一つ一つみんなあるんですね。だから全部まとめてのテーマっていうよりは一個一個にテーマがあって、謂れがあって、それが全部まとめて江戸独楽なんですよね。

Hiroi-sensei and the top-making process

In this post, Hiroi-sensei describes the difficult process of woodworking behind top creation as well as the long history of tops in Japan

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Paula: When you’re teaching apprentices, what is the first skill you teach them? Or, what do you think is the most important lesson?

Hiroi: Mmm, the most important one? What is the most important one?

Paula: Or the first step.

Hiroi: Well, I don’t really say such difficult things like “first step.” It’s [more like] “Do it because you love it.” Anyway, at first you mimic the hand movements, and I teach how to carve. So that anyone can learn it, I take their hands and show them, and after that, little by little back off, so they are doing it on their own. So it’s [learned] rather quickly. People who take a longer amount of time take about half a year before they can make a single top. And people who take a while, there are some that take quite a long time.

Usually apprentices struggled with the tops for half a year or a year, and then were gradually able to make apprentice tops. So it’s not that there’s a particularly important thing I teach them. The most important thing is for them is the feeling that they want to learn it themselves.

And this, well, in the past, it was that no matter what, a master’s skills had to be inherited, not that you did it because you liked it, and if the master did it a certain way, you had to do it exactly like that. It was like we absolutely had to do it one way. But people who do it for a hobby do it because they love it, they learn it because they just enjoy it, and before I teach them something like “an important [lesson],” they already love it, so there’s no need to say such unnecessary things like that.  So I lend a hand so that they can make even just one [top], no matter how long it takes. Even if it wobbles a little or something, if they can make even one top, I’m so happy. And then they get absorbed in [making them], and they come again wanting to make a better one and want to give it their best on their own. And they keep at it, and like Landis-sensei get really good at it. That she had to go back to America– I think it was fitting, since she became so good at [top making]. Heh heh heh.

Paula: When your apprentices’ training is done, how do you keep in touch with them?

Hiroi:  Mmm, I don’t really keep in touch with them. When my apprentices have time they come for a lesson. I don’t really say anything [to keep up with them] on my part. Apprentices come when they want to work on [their skills], and if they come, I teach them. It’s like that. So it’s very free in that way. So I don’t force them to do anything. It’s the same for those who are pros and those who are amateurs.

Paula: In the teaching of your apprentices, what is a daily lesson like?

Hiroi: Mmm, just foolish talk. And everyone rolls around laughing, “hahaha,” “hohoho,” and just enjoys themselves. We talk about all kinds of things here, and in those conversations there’s fun things, humor like the Edo iki*, and jokes. There’s a lot of that [when we get together], and if I were giving a strict lecture, or teaching as if I were in a classroom, then I couldn’t make learning and teaching interesting. So I break it up and make it half play. And very free-form.

And those [apprentices], how should I put it? They have their own distinctive character. And there’s a certain style of Edo tops, but within that, I [have them] make make it in their own way while enjoying themselves. So everyone learns while having fun. It’s the same for those doing it professionally and as a hobby. If you don’t have that, then you really can’t make interesting tops. It’s fine to teach it like, “This is like this, so do it like this. This is like this, so don’t do that,” but then everyone will make the same things, and their charm disappears. Everyone is their own person, so in order to make the best use of that individuality, they [should] make them freely, doing interesting things while enjoying themselves. For pros and amateurs alike.

Paula: What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of learning the woodworking craft? Not just making tops…

Hiroi: The most challenging part is the seikan, sawing the wood, making the tools– blacksmithing. Tool-making. That is difficult. If you can skillfully make the tools and saw the wood, you can do anything. If it’s just carving, even a person doing it as a hobby can manage, but if you become a pro, you can’t be a professional just with that [skill], so until you get on the lathe, the preparation before that is the sawing [kidori 木取り], finely cutting the actual tree trunk. Some time ago Maeda-kun cut some of the ones over there, and to saw in the kidori style, he made tools, and the tools were based on the items he made; he came up with a variety of tools by himself.

If you can’t make your own tools well, you won’t be able to come into your own [as a top-maker]. It’s difficult to teach it as well as to use a design, and in the end you just have to learn it yourself. Well, I teach the fundamentals. But I’m not a blacksmith, you know. Though I’m an amateur at smithing, I have my own style. I tentatively teach my own style of it, though I don’t know if that’s in itself a kind of tradition. I teach about the tools that I use here [at my workshop]. And now Maeda-kun is thinking about it himself and making his own tools. If you’re able to do that, then you’ve matured [as a top-maker]. That’s actually what’s most difficult.

Paula: Um, regarding the Edo tops, can you explain a bit about their characteristics? For example, how are they different from other tops?

Hiroi: Ahh, they’re totally different from other tops. Umm, well, in Japan there are many different tops that are the famous product of different areas, but these are almost all tops that you spin outside. The tops that I make, well, of course you can spin them outside, too, but almost all of them are called “tatami tops” and are meant to be played with and enjoyed indoors. And when you’re not playing with them you display them, and enjoy them that way. They’re tops that you can enjoy in a number of ways. Their characteristics are that they’re “tatami tops,” you use them indoors, and you usually play with them.

And there’s many different types. That there’s a lot of types, too, is something from long ago, in the Edo period… In Japan, long ago, in ancient times, a thousand or two thousand years ago, on the morning of New Year’s Day, at the imperial court they spun tops and, err, how should I describe it? They wanted to create the country’s policies, so they used [the tops] for fortune-telling. And there was an official who spun tops on the morning of New Year’s Day, and through what direction they stopped on, decided things like harvest will be good this year, or the harvest will be bad, so we have to do this or we can’t do this, etc., and [the tops] were used that way. One of them was, umm, when they built the bullet train here, in the city of Natori, there was an archaeological site called Shimizu, i think. And they excavated it to build the bullet train tracks. When they did, from inside a well they found three things: a top, a flute, and comb. One of those items is preserved in the prefectural Folk Museum in Takajo. I think they still have it.

The top is about this big. And there’s no doubt it was made with a lathe. I think it might be the oldest [top found] in Japan, and it was about a thousand years old. And the fact that it was found like that in the well, with the flute and the comb, means it was probably used to fortune-telling, or a charm, or… what should I call it? Used for deciding something. That there was a flute and a comb along with the top meant that it was for a matsuri (festival/ritual). So it is said to be for something like that. A good luck charm, or fortune-telling. It seems it was probably for deciding important things.

And burying it inside the well like that, what would you call it today? Um, you would bury such things in the well when there was an outbreak of contagious disease or illness, like dysentery in children or regular dysentery. If you drank the water in the well, the disease would spread. So they’d fill in the well so it couldn’t be used anymore, and at that time [the objects] would be sort of like a sacrifice. It would be like you were sacrificing them, and the top, the flute, things you usually use everyday would be buried [along with the well]. And people think that’s what they were used for.  And there’s no doubt that the tops were made using a lathe. And there was evidence of shavings from a lathe (kanname 鉋目).

And there’s evidence it was spun, too! On the tip of the top, it was rubbed by grit and rounded off. It must have been spun a number of times. So it was probably used for fortune-telling. It was probably that the most elite person in the village where those remains were used it for fortune-telling. And at that time, it was a top shaped like this. This kind of shape, but… umm, a top shaped like this, but… here, like this, there was a pattern from using a plane tool… and this area was rubbed away. Rubbed away by grit. And here, there was no hole, but it had [evidence] that it had been broken by being snapped off with a saw, so it looked like there was a hole. If you looked at it from the top, it looked like this. It was said that it looked like there was a shaft there, and if that was the case, it was really incredible, a breakthrough discovery. I asked to see it, and went there. Looking at it, there was evidence it had been cut with a saw, and that it had been cut and snapped off. And when I said that, they said they didn’t think there were saws around in use during that time period. But since this was evidence that without a doubt it had been cut with a saw, this was a huge discovery. For the history of saws, they said that if that was the case it would change the history of saw usage. And that it was incredible that in this period they already had saws. And everyone made a big fuss about it and about tops, and the people involved in saws also clamored about it. Hehehe. The history goes back hundreds of years. They were all excited about it and top people weren’t allowed to touch it because they wanted to preserve it forever. Hahaha. I expect they still have it [at the museum].

Paula: What kind of objects are in the collection of Edo tops that Landis-sensei has? Could you explain a little about them?

Hiroi: There’s all kinds of them. Ah– where are the photos from yesterday?

Paula: Ahh, well, um, tomorrow we’ll look at them and you can explain a little about them one by one, but overall, [could you explain about] what kind of themes they’re on, that sort of thing…

Hiroi: Ahh… the themes depend on the top. So rather than there being an overall theme, each one of them has one, and they have their own stories, so all together they’re Edo tops.

 

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.”

 

Newspaper article 新聞記事: Setting out to restore traditional wooden toys 伝統の木地がん具復元にかける

Hiroi-sensei has also appeared in newspapers as a well-known Edo top maker. Below is a translation of an article entitled “Setting out to restore traditional wooden toys” that ran the newspaper Asahi Shinbun on January 14, 1982See the original Japanese article at the link below.

廣井先生はよく知られている江戸独楽の職人として新聞記事で特集されています。1982年1月14日、「朝日新聞」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: 歴史記事はこちら

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Setting out to restore traditional wooden toys

In Sendai, there is an artisan whose work appeals to people who love toys made from wood; he continues the restoration of these traditional objects. An artisan turning pulpwood on the lathe and making toys, Hiroi Michiaki (48) is a specialist* even among woodworkers. At the New Year, his “sulking dog (sune inu)” top was brought back.

Hiroi was born in Tokyo’s shitamachi in Honjo Fukagawa. Hiroi is a third-generation [woodworking] specialist ; his grandfather did [woodworking] as a pastime and quit his job as a doctor to become a specialist. Hiroi is an artisan who inherited the tradition of Edo-style wooden toys. He was evacuated [during WWII] to Sendai.

The world of making wooden toys on lathes is vast. Many of the items that Hiroi produces are technically difficult and take a great deal of labor to make. In the time that he could make three kokeshi, he often can only make a single [wooden top]. It takes a month and a half to make about one hundred tops. “I’m deprived of free time,” he laughed. He recalls how to make many of the toys by muscle memory. There are no diagrams or exemplars. One by one, the toys are resurrected from what the body remembers. Asked by a Tokyo-based admirer [to make them], Hiroi began to create the wooden tops with the goal of restoring one hundred types over fifty years. “When the lathe spins, your hands naturally begin to move, and the shape [of the top] appears.”

“The  first dream of the new year (hatsuyume)” is [a top with] a falcon spinning at the summit of Mt. Fuji. “Monster (obake)” is one where a monster leaps from a well when the top stops spinning. There are many stylish, refined tops that seem to embody Edo toys. On the stand of the “sulking dog” top for the New Year there is a pattern of a tengu with his [elongated] nose and an okame with her [open] mouth, designed to complement one another. The dog is sulking about their good relationship.

Hiroi’s admirers come to his shop to receive his toys and enjoy conversation with him while playing with the tops. “Everyone is carefree and cheerful.”

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* The term used in the article is 紅物師, which is slightly unusual. The 紅 character refers to a deep red color, and akamonoshi 赤物師 (赤 meaning red) is another word for a kokeshi maker. So here the use of 紅 might be a play on characters to mean a much deeper talent.

Media post メディアポスト: Janell’s Collection (Now) ジャネルとランディスー廣井コレクション(現在)

These photos show Janell’s collection of tops in the display case she kept in her home in Tennessee for many years. These photos were taken in 2013 when Janell was interviewed for the Carving Community project, and the tops are now held by the Morikami Museum.

長年テネシー州の自宅でケースに保管していたジャネルの独楽のコレクション。2013年Carving Communityプロジェクトのインタビューの際の写真。独楽はモリカミ博物館・日本庭園に保存されている

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Newspaper article 新聞記事:Seven Artisans Compete with New “Sendai Fortune” Products

Hiroi-sensei has appeared many times in Japanese newspapers. Below is a translation of an article entitled “Seven Artisans Compete with New “Sendai Fortune” Products” that ran December 27, 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12月27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 (December 27, 2008)

The new character of Akiu Craft Village: “Sendai Fortune” kokeshi

Nice to meet you. I’m a kokeshi who is proud of my smile.

Akiu Craft Village

Seven Artisans Compete with New  “Sendai Fortune” Products

The Akiu Craft Village of Akiu, Taihaku Ward, Sendai City will begin selling a new kokeshi this January called “Sendai Fortune.” It was so-named by the seven artisans of Akiu, who made it in the image of a woman calling upon luck. It is being sold as a new character made with a modern twist on traditional arts. The Sendai Luck ranges in size up to about 10 cm tall. They have kokeshi in the shape of smiling girls and based on the zodiac ox. Hiroi Michiaki (75) and the other artisans of the Craft Village made the doll to invite luck, modeling it on the wife of Fukusuke (god of luck).

When kokeshi-making began to feel as though it had hit a slump, Hiroi called on his artisan colleagues. By challenging one another, they aim to increase their technical skills and imbue their wooden products with a new appeal.

The Sendai Fortune kokeshi cost around 2,000-3,000 yen. This time they’ve made about 100 kokeshi, and the Craft Village opens up for sales from January 1-4, 10AM-4PM. In addition, there will be bamboo stilts (takeuma), wooden paddle games (hagoita), and traditional kites (surume tenbata) on sale.

According to Hiroi, “We want to create products that make people excited, and in the future, too, have the luck of Sendai active in many places through the Craft Village’s original character.” Hiroi’s contact information is 022 (398) 2770.

Media Post: Hiroi at the Workshop メディアポスト:工房での廣井先生

These photos show Hiroi-sensei, Mrs. Hiroi, friends, and apprentices spending time in the workshop in the early 1980s.

1980年代、廣井先生と夫人、ご友人、お弟子さん。工房にて

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Newspaper article 新聞記事: Looking Forward to the Creation of “Akiu Products” 「秋保産」誕生楽しみ

Hiroi-sensei has appeared many times in Japanese newspapers. Below is a translation of an article entitled “Looking Forward to the Creation of “Akiu Products” that ran April 20, 2004 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。2004年4月20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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Hiroi Michiaki makes kokeshi at Akiu Craft Village. He hopes to create a kokeshi forest.

Kahoku shinpō (April 20, 2004)

Looking Forward to the Creation of “Akiu Products”

Steady Work on Making a Forest for Kokeshi

Sendai City/Akiu Craft Village Collaboration

In an attempt to promote the local woodworking industry,  Sendai City is embarking on a “kokeshi forest”-making project in the town of Akiu’s Taihaku ward. In collaboration with Akiu Craft Village, painted maple and dogwood saplings will be planted; those trees will become the pulpwood for traditional craft goods. Their aim is to eventually have kokeshi that are entirely made from “Akiu Products,” and to facilitate that, a planting event, for which city residents can volunteer, is planned for May 5 [2004] .

Pulpwood trees to be planted this year, too, on May 5

Dogwood trees are native to the Akiu area, but the region is very marshy, making logging work very difficult. Because of this, Hiroi Michiaki (age 70), an artisan of Akiu Craft Village who makes kokeshi, is supplied with woodchips made by the lumber workers of Miyagi Prefecture’s Kunomori Ward for his work.

However, for a number of years lumber imports have been increasing and the amount of woodchip production has gone down; dogwood preservation, too, is becoming more difficult. Planning the pulpwood through their own supply efforts, Sendai and Akiu began the “kokeshi forest” project in May of last year. The city-owned forests near the Craft Village are roughly 6 hectares, and they plan to plant about 10,000 saplings over the course of 6 years, finishing in 2008. In one year, they have planted 1,400 dogwood trees.

It’s projected it will take roughly 15 to 20 years for the trees to grow into usable materials, but Hiroi-san has said, “If the next generation of artisans is able to use local dogwood to make kokeshi and other goods, I would be happy,” and is watching over the saplings affectionately.

The planting event, sponsored by the joint Sendai and Craft Village project, will be held on the 5th and is recruiting volunteers to help the artisans plant 1,500 saplings in the city-owned forest area. They also plan to hold cultural exchange events, with woodworking workshops and atelier tours.

The Sendai City Agriculture, Forestry, and Public Works Division stated, “Through the collaboration of the artisans and city residents on this forestation project, we hope to assure the continuation of traditional arts and to deepen  our residents’ understanding of forestry and woodworking traditions.”

There are 100 volunteer positions available on a  first come, first serve basis. To volunteer, contact the Sendai City Agriculture, Forestry, and Public Works Division’s Forestry Branch at 020 (214) 8264.

Media Post メディアポスト: Hiroi’s shop 廣井先生の店舗

As a part of building the Akiu Craft Village and its community, artisans working there have each of their homes, workshops, and shops together in one building. In the following photos, we see Hiroi-sensei and Mrs. Hiroi in their shop, “Onkomaya Hiroi,” where they sell their tops, along with some photos of Hiroi-sensei’s work on display. New tops are always appearing in the shop, as Hiroi-sensei and his apprentice design new works, create seasonal tops, and recreate old favorites.

秋保工芸の里と、その里のコミュニティづくりの一部として、働く職人は工芸の里に自宅、工房、兼 販売店舗を一つの建物として所有している。つくった独楽を販売する「御独楽處 廣井」という店舗にいる廣井先生と奥様の写真や、廣井先生が陳列した独楽の写真をここで紹介したい。廣井先生とお弟子さんが新しいデザインをつくり、季節の独楽や、昔ながらのデザインをつくるたび、真新しい独楽が常に店に陳列される。

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.