minako-hayakawa /profile

minako-hayakawa/profile プロフィール

Profile of Minako Hayakawa

Nozawamingei (Nozawa Folk Arts) is located in Nishiaizu, a small town in northwestern Fukushima Prefecture. Surrounded in natural beauty, the town is located along Iide mountains and Echigo mountains. The magnificent Agano River flows from through the town from east to west. For hundreds of years Nozawa, the central area of Nishiaizu, was a bustling post town for people traveling between Echigo (now Niigata) and Aizu (the western region of Fukushima) on the Echigo Highway.

It is in Nozawa where father and daughter Ito and Hayakawa have made papier mache toys over two generations. Minako Hayakawa grew up seeing her father's dedication to his craft and respect for the traditions of Aizu papier mache. By the time she graduated high school, she knew that creating works of papier mache with her father was what she wanted to do.

Even when covered in two meters of snow, Nishiaizu is a place where one can still find beautiful, if faint colors among an intense landscape. Hayakawa has dedicated the last 28 years to her craft, in an attempt to someday match her father's technique, which has the same richness and intensity as the land around them.

The tragedy of the disaster of 3.11 that effected so many in Japan served Minako as inspiration for new designs. Those designs were the "Negaidama" (wish ball) and the "Seigaihabeko" (blue ocean wave cow). As a prayer for the victims of the disaster, and a hope for recovery, they were painted with traditional Japanese patterns. Selecting an ocean motif in spite of the tsunami, the red string that supports the neck of the Seigaihabeko represents "kizuna," the Japanese word for the bonds between people.