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

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Okabe Mineo Retrospective

'Okabe Mineo was born the first son of Kato Tokuro but the relationship basically ended there. It was his grandfather, wife, and potter-scholar Koyama Fujio who were to be the main figures in his life. Okabe was born Kano but changed his name to Kato in 1927. He later changed his name to Okabe in order to honor his wife for the support she gave him during his troubled and impoverished life. Here's what happened in a nutshell.' The rest of the story is continued in an article I wrote that can be read at Yet, that's not as much interest as the announcment I received today of an Okabe Retrospective at the The National Museum of Modern Art, Crafts Gallery, Tokyo opening on March 6th and finishing on May 20th. Okabe is a major figure here and not that well known elsewhere. His work was revolutionary and had power and spirit that was unsurpassed. I once held an ash-glazed chawan of his and the energy emitted from within that chawan made my hands tremble; I'll never forget that as it was frightening. Anyway, stay tuned for more details and photos, and possible catalog. This could certainly be *the* exhibition of of the year!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

'Works from the Soil' Exhibition in Tokyo

Two very hot ceramic artists these days are Ogawa Machiko and Akiyama Yo. Many know their works shown the world over, yet it's not often they show pieces together. A diverse and interesting exhibition is now on in Tokyo at the Art Gallery, Tokyo Opera City showing pieces by these two outstanding artists as well as lots more. From the gallery's homepage announcement, " Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery holds more than 2,600 works including oil paintings, nihon-ga (Japanese paintings), prints, drawings, sculptures, and other media. Among the enormous collection consists of mainly by post-war Japanese artists, the exhibition will show works selected on the themes of "Land" and "Nature." Through various artistic expressions such as clay works, paintings and prints whose motifs are vast landscape and growing plants, the exhibition encourages visitors to experience the power of nature." The homepage has not been updated this year so go to future exhibitions to learn more and also for directions, the exhibition runs until March 25th.