Okinawa Tourism Information:TheBestSouvenirofOkinawa,"RyukyuMiyarabiKokeshi"

The Best Souvenir of Okinawa, "Ryukyu Miyarabi Kokeshi"

post : 2016.06.16 18:00

It has been for about half century since I was born in Okinawa, I have not known about "Ryukyu Miyarabi Kokeshi". I will definitely chose this if present something. "Yotsutake", Ryukyu dress with hat, "Itoman lady", fish basket on her head, and "Kasuri Tai", wearing Ryukyu kasuri. All are about 20cm height.

Ryukyu Miyarabi Kokeshi is made at Taiki Okinawa, disabled people supporting facility in Yaese-cho. It is hand-made crafted one by one. From cutting circle-shape wood to drawing, all process are done by people at Taiki Okinawa.

Wood materials are Japanese storax and Ryukyu pine tree that used for barrier against typhoon. It's curved beautiful shape is popular.

Used machine to cut roughly shape and finished by hand.

After cutting process, and waiting for "Make up".

Drawing expert man who has been doing for 40 years. His right hand is disabled so draw by left hand.

Drawing straight line on the curved-shape surface is extremely hard even for nondisabled people. One line, one brush, put the brush in his mouth and twist Kokeshi and draw by brush.

Drawing red obi on "Kasuri Obi" and blue line.

Do you see he is holding Kokeshi by his left arm and drawing by left hand at the same time, and changing angle? This is artisan skill.

Drawing hat. They often get eyestrain by drawing tiny lines. Accessories are all made by themselves to improve their work.

"Ryukyu Miyarabi Kokeshi" was born in 1972 when Okinawa was restitute. Try to develop new industries, and the woodcraft was started. Three years later, Kokeshi got populated when Ocean Expo, Okinawa. "Itomanmusume" was awarded Ministry of International Trade and Industry Award in 1974. Here are some Kokeshi on the shelf.

"Haisai doll", wearing Bingata with paper roll. It has been popular among people on American military bases. It’s a good gift for people leaving Okinawa with messages, and used to be called "Sayonara doll".

30 to 50 of "Miyarabi "Kokeshi are hand-made by 6 craftspeople in a month. Miyarabi means beautiful kids, girls in Okinawan dialect. They feel like giving their daughters away when shipping.

It looks like each Kokeshi has different expressions depending on who made it. All of Ryukyu Miyarabi Kokeshi are certainly sheltered girls.

It seems like they finished make up, and chatting.

Ryukyu Miyarabi Kokeshi is available at 

Taiki Okinawa
1038-1, Aza-Nakaza, Yaese-cho, Okinawa
Tel: 098-851-7522

Okinawa Sumunakui Zakka

Okinawa CLIP Photographer/Writer Naoko Tsuruta