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Discovering Tohoku’s Artisan Craftsmanship

Exploring the Traditional Techniques of Tohoku’s Local Artisans

Tohoku, a region in northern Japan, is known for its rich cultural heritage and traditional craftsmanship. From Arita pottery to Kokeshi dolls, Tohoku’s artisans have been passing down their skills and techniques for generations. Here, we take a closer look at some of the local artisans and their traditional techniques.

Arita Pottery Production

Arita pottery, also known as Imari ware, has been produced in the town of Arita in Saga Prefecture for over 400 years. To produce Arita pottery, artisans use a mixture of porcelain clay and crushed quartz, which gives the pottery its characteristic look and feel. Each piece of Arita pottery is handcrafted and goes through a lengthy process of shaping, drying, firing, glazing, and re-firing. The result is a beautifully crafted piece of pottery with intricate designs.

Kokeshi Dolls

Kokeshi dolls are wooden dolls that originated in the Tohoku region in the early 19th century. The dolls are traditionally made from cherry or dogwood trees and are characterized by their simple, cylindrical shapes and smooth, painted surfaces. Each region within Tohoku has its own unique style of Kokeshi doll, with different facial features, clothing, and designs.

Tanabata Bamboo Weaving

Tanabata is a festival celebrated throughout Japan, but the Tohoku region has a unique tradition of bamboo weaving. During the festival, locals weave long strips of bamboo into intricate shapes and designs, such as animals and flowers. The bamboo is then hung up as decorations to celebrate the festival. This traditional craft requires a great deal of skill and patience, and is often passed down from generation to generation. By taking the time to discover Tohoku’s artisanal traditions, we can appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of the region and support its local artisans.
Artisan Crafts