I think it’s safe to say that Yasuo Okazaki is an expert — he blows the 10,000 hour rule out of the water! Mr. Okazaki has been perfecting his craft since he graduated high school some 40 plus years ago.
The toy you watched him craft is a Naruko style Kokeshi doll. Some experts date them as far back as the early 17th century, but their origin remains a mystery. The craft has remained the same ever since, primarily because it is passed down generation to generation, as is the case for Mr. Okazaki.
Check out the step-by-step of his process below the video.
Centering the wood on the lathe
The primary woods used come from Mono maple, Cherry trees and Pagoda. The wood is cut and dried in wintertime to prep them for the lathe.
Shaping the body using a blade and lathe
This is the mesmerizing part… if you don’t have steady hand-eye coordination, then this isn’t the job for you.
Painting lines on the doll’s body using the spinning lathe
Okay, this part is pretty darn mesmerizing too.
Fitting the head to the body of the doll
The Naruko style Kokeshi doll is the only one that has a turning head. In fact, it’s known for making a squeaking noise when turned. Notice how Mr. Okazaki burns the ball of wood from the head into the joint on the body.
Intricate painting of the face and body
We’re off the lathe at this point, and now giving the doll its color. The Naruko style is known for having a chrysanthemum pattern painted on the body.
Wax on, Wax off!
Back on the lathe, Mr. Okazaki smooths and shines the doll with wax.
The finished product… a one of a kind masterpiece!
Be sure to share this incredible craftsmanship if you were mesmerized!
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