Japanese Arts & Crafts: Design Your Own Kokeshi

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Claudia Wentworth
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Japanese Arts & Crafts: Design Your Own Kokeshi

Postby Claudia Wentworth » Tue May 26, 2020 1:01 pm

Japan House London - the cultural home of Japan in London - has launched a new online design competition perfect for families looking for arts and crafts ideas with an educational angle. 

Children (and parents!) can design a kokeshi doll to win your very own real-life kokeshi, which are wooden toys that have been crafted for centuries in Japan. There are two dolls to be won, one for adults entering the competition, and one for kids.

In the villages where kokeshi were made, they were often given as gifts on the birth of a child (rather like the way we give teddy bears as gifts to newborns nowadays), with the baby’s name painted on the reverse of the body. In the absence of other toys, the child would grow up playing with his or her kokeshi doll. Today, they are often gifted as Japanese mementos and souvenirs from travels. Some believe kokeshi have the power to protect children from harm, ward off evil and even host human spirits.

Families can choose from three different kokeshi designs from the Tōhoku region of north-eastern Japan, where the dolls first emerged as a folk craft from hot spring mountain villages at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868 CE). Design one, two or all three in whatever manner you like - digitally, or print off the templates and paint, colour or draw your designs.

You will need to think about the doll’s facial features and expression, hair, and the decorations on its body which represent kimono patterns, using your imagination to create an original design or take inspiration from one of the various kinds of kokeshi from Japan’s Tōhoku region, which are pictured in the design templates available to download on the Japan House London website

To submit your design, take a picture of your completed work and upload to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #MyKokeshi and @japanhouseLDN. Alternatively, you can email a picture of your design to info@japanhouselondon.uk.

Submissions will be accepted until Monday 1 June 2020. Winners will be contacted directly by Japan House London, either over Direct Message on social media or via email. 

All information on the competition can be found here: https://www.japanhouselondon.uk/whats-o ... n-kokeshi/
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