Forgotten culture restored
with a man’s passion for
Local Folk Crafts
Sanuki Folk Crafts Museum is located inside the Ritsurin garden, where the scenic beauty of DAIMYO (feudal lord) garden from the EDO period is still well preserved. The museum was founded in 1965, with a vast collection of traditional crafts, daily objects and children’s toys. Kazuo ARAKI, who then worked for Kagawa prefecture, traveled all over Japan to collect these valuables, and eagerly proposed establishment of the Museum to the Kagawa prefecture council. Kazuo was a devoted Mingei (Folk Crafts) movement follower, and through his research he came to know of the cotton thread-ball which was unique to the area. The discovery of the almost extinct TEMARI drove him to preserve and promote the culture, later leading to the foundation of our association.
The west part of SANUKI was especially famous for TEMARI during the EDO period: using natural-dyed local cotton threads, many pretty TEMARIs were made up until mid 19th century. However, hardly anyone could make the authentic thread-balls anymore by the time Kazuo started his research, due to the quick spread of rubber balls at the end of 19th century. That, however, did not stop Kazuo from committing himself to the restoration of this almost extinct craft and its culture. He turned to many predecessors of Mingei Movement, such as Kichinosuke TONOMURA, the first director of Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft, from whom he learned how to dye cotton with natural materials. It was also those predecessors who provided him with the embroidery and sewing knowledge and techniques, helping him to acquire the traditional methods.
After the successful restoration of thread-ball making culture in SANUKI area, Kazuo named the original cotton thread-balls “SANUKI KAGARI TEMARI” and founded the SANUKI KAGARI TEMARI Preservation Association together with his wife Yaeko in 1983. It was 4 years after that their TEMARI was chosen as “Traditional Crafts of Kagawa”. Eiko ARAKI, now a leading member of the association, treads in the footsteps of her passed parents-in-law.