All posts tagged: aomori

Japanese Handicrafts – Kokeshi

In my travels around Japan photographing artisans and craftsmen for my upcoming book, I met Abo-san, a Kokeshi craftsman. His workshop and art was absolutely splendid however we weren’t able to include him in the book for space reasons, so I am going to introduce him here. Kokeshi are a type of decorative wooden doll that is popular in the northern regions of Japan. They served as toys for children hundreds of years ago and now are valued as folk craft items that bring good luck. Although the prefecture of Miyagi is famed for having the highest quality kokeshi, Abo-san is from Aomori, and his dolls have been praised as some of the best in Japan. Watching him work it is very clear that Abo-san is a true master, as he transforms a featureless block of wood into a smooth and shiny kokeshi figure within minutes using a variety of well-worn chisels. The ground is littered with wooden shavings around his feet, which controls the spinning wheel. Painting the doll looks deceptively simple – Abo-san …


To those of you who’ve been wondering where I’ve been due to my lack of postings, I’ve been on holiday and have just gotten back into the swing of things.  I went to Aomori – quite possibly the dreariest city I’ve visited in Japan, and while there was a decided lack of excitement, there were plenty of photo opportunities to capture some great urban decay. Shot all this stuff straight to JPEG on my Nikon D700 and 24-70mm G with ISO6400 and little to no editing.  It gave me the look I wanted straight from the start, which was absolutely great.  I personally am very happy with this series and might even consider having an exhibition of it sometime in Tokyo somewhere.