Twice I have traveled to the Tohoku region of Japan and it is definitely a favorite of mine. While in the north, I began to gather kokeshi and formed a small collection of the folk art at home in the US.
On a recent trip to Shimane Prefecture and beyond I was accompanied by three of my kokeshi. Long, long ago, in a public university far, far away, I earned degrees in art, with a concentration in creative photography. The kokeshi inspired me to create a series of 15 photographs which I sincerely hope appear creative. Upon completion of the set, I thought perhaps I could return with the kokeshi to their native land and attempt to capture a few interesting/strange/different kinds of images. The catch was that I had to shoot them on the quick, because I was uncomfortable drawing attention to myself and my daughter; therefore, forethought was not a large part of the equation. I'd pull out a kokeshi or two (or sometimes inadvertently, a tube of chapstick) and begin taking pictures. All was well until one evening in the hotel room when I dumped out the contents of my bag. There were only two kokeshi instead of three. The little kokeshi was missing.
I wasn't upset but wondered how and where I had lost her. We had last seen her on the grounds of Izushi Castle in Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture. My daughter the writer couldn't resist creating a scenario: "According to the Kijiyama sisters, the little kokeshi is young and naive, and she doesn't understand the ways of the world. Little K-chan will suffer a poor fate, and never find her way back to the Tohoku. It cannot be helped." But this is what I think: "If you visit Izushi Castle, I'll bet you'll find the little kokeshi propped up on a bench and waiting patiently to be found. Doesn't that seem right?"
Buy original Kokeshi from Japan
Inside Track Japan For Kindle