Robert Yellin's Japanese Pottery Blog

Greetings from Kyoto, We've just moved our gallery into a magnificent old Sukiya style home located very near the Silver Pavilion; a stunning area and setting for the inspired ceramic art we share with the world. Please visit us if ever in Kyoto or online at and

Friday, July 28, 2006

Japan Ceramics Society Award Winners Exhibition/A Few Photos

Riding the bullet train into Tokyo I noticed how the buildings in the Ginza district were blocking the sun on one side. I wondered why all those folks down there were walking in the sun, it was blazing hot! Departing the train, I made a beeline for the shady side of the street and even when I arrived at Wako---only a short walk--I was a wet noodle. I stood in the shade by the main show window to cool down and took one of the photos seen here; it shows a set of Ichino Masahiko's bottles along with another shot of a celadon jar that looks as if the sun melted the glaze! I must say the overall exhibition was a joy to see and I am very delighted at Ichino's selection, yet I feel the two-month time limit he had to produce work showed in the 'rushed' aura that many pieces had. As for Nakajima, his work is so stoic and perfect; one wonders why he even bothers with designs on his immaculate celadon. And then that window piece! Jackson Pollack's ghost must have crept into Nakajima's psyche, or some other strange apparition that dwells in the Japan night. Ceramic critic/professor Inui Yoshiaki gave the opening speech introducing each artist---nothing extraordinary mentioned, and then a few short words from the artists. If anyone would like to see addtional photos from the exhibit please email me.
This month on 8/21 saw the passing of Kiyomizu RokubeVII, also known as Kyube. His cubic mixed media works were ground-breaking and we see the influnece in his son's work now.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Japan Ceramics Society Award Winners Exhibition

It's been a month of tremendous rain here in Mishima--and the rest of Japan as well--the most rain in recorded history in fact. The Kyushu region was particularly hit hard. In Shigaraki Kato Takahiko was crazy enough to fire his anagama---it's often said that woodfirers are a breed apart---and told me he expected some 'interesting effects' due to the weather's influence on temperature and wood condition.

Well, today the clouds have parted and it's one of those hot-enough-to-fire-a-guinomi-on-a-sidewalk type of day, and I'm off to Tokyo (not far off from a woodfirer in the common sense dept) to visit the Japan Ceramic Society's 2005 Award-Winners Exhibition on at Wako Hall until August 3. The JCS Award went to Ichino Masahiko(b.1961), while the JCS Gold Award will be presented to Celadon specialist Nakajima Hiroshi(b.1941).

Many of you know my respect and admiration for Ichino, and have seen his thoroughly fresh and innovative works in our web gallery. I'm very much looking forward to today's exhibition to see where his imagination has led him recently--and promise to have a few photos up before Saturday of what I stood before.

Nakajima is based in Takeo, Saga-pref. and creates intricately carved celadon works. More soon, have to catch a train.....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Miwa Jusetsu Opening/A Few Photos

Last Friday it was blazing hot in Tokyo and I think I was the only non-suited man at the Miwa opening, besides Miwa-sensei. What uncomfortable lengths folks go to in this 'Emperor's New Clothes' world. Miwa-sensei was in attendance--at ease and looking very cool and stylish in his smock--and here are a few photos from the opening. More soon, needless to say the main focus was on chawan and there are some extraordinary ones on display and alll are pictured in the excellent bi-lingual catalog. More soon....

Friday, July 07, 2006

First Annual Paramita Museum Ceramic Art Prize

Museums sponsoring art awards in Japan is nothing new; for example the 15th annual MOA Mokichi Okada Award for kogei-'crafts' was recently given to Raku KichizaemonXV. The MOA Museum--sitting atop a mountain on the coastal town of Atami--is a must see--as well as the Miho Museum---for any visitor to Japan. A sister--and the original MOA--is in Hakone and now displays an impressive assortment of Jomon-mid Edo ceramics. Now a bit further down the coast in Mie prefecture is a relatively new museum called the Paramita Museum. As with the two aforementioned museums, religious associations run deep in these institutions, and of course paramita is a Buddhist term with profound meanings. Lots about Buddhist art in general can be viewed on Mark Schumacher's very informative web site:
The Paramita Museum opened its doors in March, 2003 with its first major exhibition's theme of 'The Heart Sutra' inspired works by Ikeda Masuo. The Ikeda works are a main feature of the museum's overall collection as is a look into old Banko wares, of Mie prefecture origin.
So, the love of ceramics continues with a recently inaugurated award and corresponding exhibition of eight ceramic artists. They are as featured in the photo here, top l-r, Miwa Kazuhiko, Mihara Ken, Hayashi Kuniyoshi, Uchida Koichi; bottom l-r, Akiyama Yo, Abe Anjin, Sugiura Yasuyoshi (current exhibition in Tokyo at Muse Tomo until July 23, and Tashima Etsuko. Examples of many of the artist's works can be seen on The exhibition runs until August 31 and more information--only in Japanese though--can be obtained by
(PS-As we all know, the Net is a grand place yet as with anyplace some creeps crawl in. 'Someone' is using an an email address with as the sender; asking for credit confirmation and such; I know most know it's not from me, so please just trash it. Where's the Raid....?)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Iga's Fujioka Shuhei and Shochu Omimai

Greetings from Mishima,
As the rest of the world--particularly schools--begin summer vacation, Japan still works on with P.M. Koizumi leading the way with his Elvis impersonations and 'cool biz' attitude. Kids are in school through most of July.

The Japanese often send summer gifts and greetings and the main saying is shochu omimai moshiagemasu, or 'I wish you good health during these hot summer days.'
And so we too here send our shochu omimai to all.

The next few weeks for us will also see a slow down for mini-exhibitions although we shall continue to offer single pieces that Robert locates on his everyday
yakimono hunt. Today-July 4th--we uploaded a small selection of recent works--and one older one--from Iga's powerful and graceful Fujioka Shuhei. More about Fujioka can be read on or in our archives on

One other mini-exhibition is on the horizon and that will be Tsujimura Kai.

The autumn will bring Kako Katsumi, Kaneta Masanao and Ajiki Hiro.

Also, our office has taken on a new name although all web pages shall remain the same. Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery is now how we shall be called.

Please do enjoy whatever summer holidays you may have, take care--lots of water--and may whatever water you 'enter' be crystal clear.

Clear skies and cool breezes....with thanks and much appreciation.