museum village

The present day Arita and Imari ceramic wares

The ceramic techniques in Saga have been progressing with the postwar revival of the industry. The Cultural Properties Protection Act enacted in 1950 (Showa 25) was the first to protect intangible cultural assets including traditional techniques. The act's 1954 (Showa 29) amendment established the designation of important intangible cultural properties and the authorization system of the technique holders.
In 1966 (Showa 41) the Saga Ceramic Art Association was launched as the base for promotion activities across the different styles in Saga.
Introduced here are four representative potters in Arita.
Ryuzan Aoki
Tenmokuharunoen Ryuzan Aoki pnxt.
Made in 2000
Exhibition on Saga Ceramic Art Exhibition
at the British Museum
He is the only member of the Japan Academy of Art in the Kyushu district who has constantly been engaged in improving the techniques of manufacturing tenmoku shape bowls (Jian ware-style) for more than two decades. Tenmoku is the general term for tea ceramic bowls coated with black or yellowish red iron glaze, which are lofty and dignified and at the same time sturdy and strong. He says he has been captivated by its magnificence and latent great promise. He enjoys the variety of colors by applying iron black piece with iron sand, silver sand, and cobalt glazes in his own way.

13th Imaemon Imaizumi
In 1975, when the 13th Imaizumi at age 49 succeeded to the name of Imaemon Imaizumi, he decided to devise that which he is considered to be worthy of his name. He thought out a technique (fukizumi) in which gosu (cobalt) is sprayed all over the surface of the piece. After that he extended the fukizumi technique to the usuzumi technique and created his own way of covering the piece with gray tint independent of the Iro-Nabeshima style. At age 62 he was appointed as an important intangible cultural property (living national treasure) for overglaze enamel porcelain techniques because of his creative depiction of usuzumi in which the gosu ink essential to Iro-Nabeshima is not used.
by 13th Imaemon Imaizumi
Made in 1981
Owned by the Kyushu Ceramic Museum in Saga

14th Kakiemon Sakaida
Iroenadesikomonoozara 14th Kakiemon Sakaida pnxt.
Made in 1998
Owned by the Kyushu Ceramic Museum in Saga
The porcelain ware of the Kakiemon style in which milky white porcelain ware called nigoshide is decorated with designs in delicate overglaze enamels leaving an ingenious milky white space can provide us with a feeling of typical Japanese beauty.
In the 17th century the overglaze enamel techniques of the Kakiemon style were born in Arita. Although Kakiemon ware is regarded as a synonym for Japanese ceramics, they were the stars of porcelain ware exported to Europe, and both the nigoshide and bright colored ware were technical innovations made to promote their export overseas. The techniques have become more Japanese as their domestic demand has increased. This is how the Kakiemon style has become so popular.

Manji Inoue
In 1995 he was appointed as a national important intangible cultural being highly appreciated for his elaborately polished white porcelain technique. It is said that the round white porcelain jars are the origin of Inoue's creative art. His white porcelain works finished by putting all his energies into wheel-forming and concentrating his mind on firing in a kiln are perfectly beautiful.
It is said that no one could surpass him in wheel-forming in Arita within 400 year tradition. His belief that ' shape is the most important element of white porcelain because the shape itself is also a design as well.' is reflected in his self-disciplined attitude toward wheel-forming.
Hakujihanagataki Manji Inoue pnxt.
Made in 1998
Owned by the Kyushu Ceramic Museum in Saga

COLUMN Ceramic weapons and coins indicating the wretchedness of wars surprisingly unknown to people
Weapons and coins made of ceramics during the wars

imageAs the Sino-Japanese war broke out in 1937 (Showa 12) and expanded, government controls on the economy accelerated. In 1938 the quota system started with coal, and ceramic material, and in 1940 (Showa 15) tableware was rationed. Around this time it became difficult to import iron. Since the Pacific War had started, ceramic substitutes became in great demand in place of iron products. Among those products made in Arita are containers for food in place of canned food, weapons called "maruro" (rocket parts and rocket fuel containers), grenades to be used in the field of war, and coins. Although coal and labor were guaranteed for their production by the government, those products ultimately ended up being useless.