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1. The Takasaki Maneki-Neko (Beckoning Cat)

図1

xn--g9j0ctb5760ajb4c.com

The original Beckoning cat would be a piece of pottery, but the ones handcrafted are actually papier‐mâchés, or in other words, made out of paper. Since the sericultural industry was booming in the area and many people wish to god so that the mice wouldn’t attack their monetary source, silkworms, they started making paper beckoning cats to drive away these predators. They were also used as toys.

群馬県の伝統工芸品 http://www.gunma-cci.jp/e1.gunma/

2. Takasaki Daruma (Bodhidharma)

図2

pbv.or.jp

A lucky charm, the daruma is crafted all across Japan having distinctive characteristics depending on region to region. In Takasaki, they usually insert “thriving business”, “pray for good household” into the shoulders and put “happiness and prosperity” into the belly to wave in good spirits, and pray to become fortunate. After they make a purchase, they paint in a black dot in the right eye upon making a wish, and if the wish actually realized, they would put in a dot on the other side.   

群馬県達磨製造協同組合 http://takasakidaruma.net/

3. Gunma kokeshi dolls

図3

www.usaburo.com

Simplistic yet expressive, the kokeshi doll is widely appreciated as a wonderful gift.  Given the fact that Gunma used to be the major producer for toys, it’s counted as one of the most famous makers of original kokeshi dolls. 

群馬県観光物産国際協会http://www.gtia.jp/kokusai/japanese/traveling/recommendation_201304.php

4. Silk Products

図4

gunmasilk.blog.fc2.com

図4-2

fujimaki-select.com

If you’re a mad fan of silk, how about getting a bath pail made entirely out of Gunma-made silk? Once you brush your body up with these silk products, you’ll definitely get a skin-touch as smooth as silk. Silk socks are also highly recommended. 

ぐんまのシルク製品 http://www.gunma-silk.jp/

5. Kiryuu fabrics

図5

park.jp

Kiryuu Fabrics have been produced for over 1300 years. They’ve kept on producing Kimono textures using their special silk, but nowadays, they are highly praised for their woven knitwear made by high-quality and high-standard woving techniques. Why wouldn’t anyone use accessories made out of handmade beautiful cloth in their everyday lives? 

桐生織物協同組合 http://www.sunfield.ne.jp/~krytex01/

6. Jyosyu-Takasaki Hand Towels

図6

takasaki-cc.jp

In Takasaki, they use a skill called Tyusen, or dying a piece of cloth and designing the cloth by undergoing the process of resist painting. Since they hand-print the cloth using dress patterns, the tenugui has a conspicuous and handmade tone unlike printed by an electronic machine. Why would anyone fell disappointed receiving a light gift with cute patterns on it?  

中村染工場 http://www.nakamura-some.com/

7. Kon-Kon Slippers

図7

kinarino.jp

Weaving up into a shape of a slipper by using straw and sedge with the cloth in-between, it’s called Kon-Kon slippers because throughout the process they use a hammer to mend the slippers, and the sound “kon-kon” keeps on going. The colors are bright and have a bearutiful tint, but not to mention, the stitches that stimulate the sole of your foot makes this slipper something irresistible.  

六合地区観光情報 http://www.kunimura-kankou.com/0400/0410/

8. Numata Paulowina-Wood Clogs

図8

gunma-dc.net

Made with high-quality paulowina wood and hand-carved, these wooden clogs, or getas, are only made at one place in Numata City, Gunma Prefecture. These Getas are way durable, light-weigh, comfortable to wear compared to mass-produced getas, and what is more, they’re elegance is beyond description.

丸山下駄製造所 http://r.goope.jp/maruyamageta/top

9. Iriyama Bento Boxes (Iriyama Menpa)

図9

kunimura.shop-pro.jp

A Menpa is only made of wood, not even a single nail is used to make these oval boxes. Rich in breathability, these boxes gently preserve the food kept inside. Once you decorate the boxes with bits of cheese, nuts and candies, you may actually feel that they taste way better than usual.

 

10. Wooden Decorations (Kumiko)〜Kiryuu Joinery

図10

www.casagunma.com

A kumiko is a technique used to combine wood without using any metal, and it has been used over generations in Japanese architecture, especially for sliding doors (syouji/fusuma). The technique is leveraged and is utilized in these handcrafts by adjusting by units even smaller than millimeters. These delicate crafts would never make anyone bored.

群馬県建具組合連合会 http://gunmatategu.info/

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