NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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高柴デコ屋敷 Takashiba-deko-yashiki Takashiba Deko House

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Takashiba Deko House is a village in Takashiba, Nishida Town, Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture.

Deko house is a general name for five houses that have kept making Miharu dolls and spinning tops for many generations. The word 'deko' comes from 'deku', another word for a doll.

Takashiba Deko House makes Miharu spinning tops and red cattle dolls (one of Fukushima's symbols), as well as many talismans and good-luck charms like long-nosed goblins, droll fellows and stone-carved shrine dogs.

In the studio of Takashiba Deko House, visitors can observe working craftsmen who have inherited this 300-year-old tradition. Moreover, visitors can try painting, too.

Takashiba Deko House is a small village that preserves Fukushima's doll culture, and is a place that we should continue to preserve.
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会津張子 Aizu-hariko Aizu Papier-Mache

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The craft of 'hariko' (papier-mache) is also called 'harinuki' or 'haribote' and was brought to Japan from China.

During the Muromachi period, papier-mache dog figures were popular among the nobility. By the Edo period, there were many paper-production centers all over Japan. Many kinds of papier-mache toys and good-luck figures were made around Japan, with characteristics unique to each region.

In the Edo period, there was little chance for exchange both within and outside the country, owing to Japan's long period of isolation. So, people produced toys reflecting each region's lifestyle or beliefs.

Papier-mache toys, such as these, have been called 'local toys' since the early Taisho period. Most local toys are to wish for health to a growing child, good luck, prosperity in business or abundant harvest.

It is said that Aizu papier-mache developed as an additional source of income for samurai in the Aizu Domain; the red cow toy is especially famous. There is something lovely about the way these little red cows shake their heads.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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