Some of the more outlandish designs have them wearing a cat or even an octopus on their heads, and there have also been series based on the seasons or collaborations with other stores.
Ishinomaki kokeshi are created in a studio in Tachi-machi, central Ishinomaki. The original square piece of timber is shaved and rounded with a lathe, shaped, and then colored. The whole process from start to finish is carried out by one man, kokeshi craftsman Takatoshi Hayashi.
Have you ever seen Japanese kokeshi dolls? There are many regional variations in design and how they are made, but they all share the features of being made of wood, having a cylindrical shape and no limbs, only a large round head.
The standard design for Ishinomaki kokeshi is red and blue coloring with a fish motif, although of course there are also many variations in color and shape from this basic theme.
Kokeshi Craftsman Takatoshi Hayashi
My name is Takatoshi Hayashi. I create Ishinomaki kokeshi in my studio, which is situated in Hayashiya Clothes & Fabric Store near Ishinomaki Station, where I also work. I’m always wearing two hats, one being a worker in my parents’ store, the other making Ishinomaki kokeshi.
I probably spend about 80% of my work time making kokeshi, but whichever job I’m doing, the feeling of wanting to invigorate the Ishinomaki area and get more and more people to come visit is the same. I really hope that making my cute kokeshi dolls, which I love to do, will act as a bridge to people enjoying other facets of the city, be it eating, shopping, wandering around, or any other activity.
I’m really proud of the kokeshi that I make, and would be very happy if you could come and see my work.
Origin of the Store Name
The name of Hayashi’s kokeshi store, Tree Tree Ishinomaki, is derived from his own surname. Meaning forest, the Japanese character for it is written using two tree characters, hence the name. The name also includes a Japanese pun, adding a meaning of two people getting on well or being on the same wavelength.
About the Business
Hayashi’s kokeshi production and sales venture Tree Tree Ishinomaki functions as a subsidiary of his family business, Hayashiya Clothes & Fabric Store, situated in Tachi-machi main shopping street, central Ishinomaki. The fabric business opened in 1930, with the kokeshi venture founded on March 11th 2015 by Hayashi, the third generation of the main business.
In addition to producing kokeshi and holding kokeshi-painting workshops at the fabric store, Hayashi also sometimes holds sales exhibits in other stores further afield and accepts orders from individuals. The kokeshi can also be found regularly on sale at 7 other stores in Miyagi Prefecture, including at Sendai Airport and Sendai Station. Hayashi holds workshops and gives presentations from time to time in a variety of places and events.
Tree Tree Ishinomaki
Sendai airport New passenger terminal 2F Shimomasuda, Natori-shi, Miyagi
Simomiyamichi4-1, Iwadeyama Iketsuki, Osaki-shi, Miyagi
2-11-11, Chuo, Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi
Hamagurihama18, Momonora, Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi