About Us

About Us

Founder: Madelyn Molina
e-Mail: KokeshiTrends at gmail.com
Facebook Groups: @KokeshiVillage
Twitter: @KokeshiVillage
Home Base: CA

KokeshiTrends was established in January of 2016 and is an online Journal created with the purpose of sharing information on Japanese Kokeshi dolls (limbless wooden dolls) a folk craft that has been struggling for its survival. The world of Kokeshi is known throughout the Tohoku region of Japan. While Japan's older generations are familiar with the doll, in other regions of Japan, some of the newer generations may not have heard of Kokeshi. People outside of Japan have also had very little exposure to the world of Kokeshi; other than those who have been gifted dolls as omiyage (souvenirs) or purchased by military families living in Japan.

The Journal features artist who are inspired by Kokeshi to create works of art depicting these amazingly intricate dolls. It also features Kokeshi doll crafts people (Kokeshi-Kojin), shops and collectors alike. Of interest to us are the stories, inspirations, traditions and love of the Kojin for their art. As well as the people who, not only in Japan, but also internationally, have learned to love and appreciate the craft.

There have been some pioneer voices who have introduced Kokeshi in English to the Western world. Some of those voices include Chizuko Takeuchi and Roberta Stephens, through their book, An invitation to Kokeshi (PD 1982). Shirley Funk, through her article Variations of a Theme, published by Ningyo Journal (Winter 2003), and posted online by L'Asie Exotique; Rosie Skiles Japanese Asian Doll Enthusiast (J.A.D.E). Michael Evans and Robert Wolf, Kokeshi Wooden Treasures of Japan (PD 2005); A New Look at an Old Tradition (PD 2015). Jennifer McDowell Kokeshi: Continued and Created Traditions (PD 2011). Manami Okazaki, Kokeshi From Tohoku with Love (PD 2013); just to name a few.

Our goal at KT is to continue to give a voice to Kokeshi in the world of dolls by providing a place to exchange knowledge, to both new and old generations, who are fascinated by their existence. We aim to connect people, not only to the dolls by providing information, but also to their makers. Folkcraft is a labor of love by common people who share their talents, time, and passion through their work. They often produce masterful works of art that sometimes go unnoticed. While some works cannot be attributed to their original makers, we want them to be appreciated and loved for their origin stories. Craftsmans Michiaki and Masaaki Hiroi said they often didn't sign their works because Kokeshi was about the experience and the human connection. A connection to the artist, to the material, to the design elements. A Kokeshi should speak to the person who would provide them a home. We love this idea and hope that through raising awareness and sharing information many Kokeshi will connect with people all around the world so that they can continue to bring that sense of connection to everyone who encounters them.

KT depends on the good will of many volunteers to exist. Many collaborations, friendships and networking have to occur in order for its production. It is a labor of love and I am grateful for all of our collaborators who have given freely of their time, talent, skills and heart they are an amazing group of people. KT is humbled by the passion, love, and selflessness that has come from many of our new-found friends in Japan, US, France, Netherlands, Alaska, Philippines and many more countries. We continue to grow, and hope that the growth we have translates to the preservation of a craft, that while fairly young in comparison to other folkcrafts, is vital to a culture that is known for preserving their “furusato” home town feelings.

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