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

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sixth Mashiko Ceramics Competition and the passing of Nishioka

Mashiko is the world famous potting town in Tochigi prefecture made famous by Hamada Shoji. It's a must visit for any yakimono fan--a pligramage of sorts--and if one can get there before Dec.12th then you'll also so be able to see the 6th Mashiko Ceramics Competition held at the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art. Two large awards are given each year--those being the Hamada Shoji and Kamoda Shoji Awards--and this year the former went to Kita Kosuke for a series of pastel colored plates(featured on the poster), while the Kamoda Award went to Kuwata Takuro for a large wavy layered plate. The museum's homepage--in Japanese only--can be viewed here:
One of Japan's 'hidden treasure' potters was Karatsu's Nishioka Koju(1917-2006); he was a Karatsu scholar who came to making pots later in life at the urging of Koyama Fujio. Nishioka's research into ancient Karatsu styles only deepened his own pots that are highly valued by collectors here in Japan. I wrote this for a past listing on our gallery, 'In Karatsu pottery Nishioka Koju is a living legend. He has excavated old kilns and studied the ancient ways starting in 1953. He established his kiln in 1973 and his kiln was named by the late great scholar-potter Koyama Fujio. Many other great potters made their way to Nishioka's kiln, creating and firing there; these include Arakawa Toyozo and Fujiwara Kei. In my opinion Nishioka's Karatsu is some of the finest ever seen.' A fine Nishioka Chosen-garatsu gunomi is pictured here.


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