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

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Inoue Taishu--Shodai Master Potter---50 Years On.

Inoue Taishu(b.1941) is a ceramic artist who should be recognized as a Living National Treasure for Shodai-yaki. As every worthy potting center needs a LNT, or simply a leader, without a doubt for Shodai-yaki it's Inoue-sensei. He first studied in Kyoto with Morino Kako (1959) and then studied at the Takemiya kiln(1960) with the first Chikashige Jitaro. A few years later he established his own kiln in Kumamoto in 1965 and then built a noborigama kiln at the base of Mt.Shodai in 1968. It's there he pots today still. His career and awards are too long to list here yet he is well represented in major exhibitions, and his work has been presented to the current Emperor--at the latter's request. To celebrate this humble, yet extraordinary folk potter's career, a fifty-year commemorative exhibition is being held at the Kumamoto Prefectural Traditional Crafts Center until March 2nd. Information in Japanese only is available at
Also, a new book about Inoue was published for the celebration and is available for 2,600 yen. ISBN978-4-87755-299-2. A few works of Inoue's will be placed on today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Few Recent Publications

Sakai Motoki, former editor of now deceased magazine TOHJIRO, has stuck out on his own and recently took under his direction two new books. The first is a first of its kind, intense close-up shots of quite famous antique works, most dating to the 16th-18th centuries with the exception of a 12th-13th century Chines Tenmoku chawan, which is featured on the cover. Many styles of Tea wares are shown as well as porcelain masterpieces. The three chapters are Chanoyu Pottery, Kyo-yaki and Raku Chawan and Imari-Arita Iro-e Jiki-Porcelain. All in Japanese only, with the exception of photo name and a brief description of each work in the back. The ISBN number is 978-4-06-214334-9 and the book is priced at 3,200 yen. The next book is...well...about the beauty of blue and white toilets, titled 'Blue and White Pottery Toilets of Olden Times/Through Beauty, A Spirit of Purity.' Again, this book has fine photography and shows many examples of these 'works of art' as well as images of traditional settings. In Japanese only and the ISBN number is978-4-87275-405-6 and is priced at 1,500 yen. The last publication is the quarterly DARUMA and in this particular issue is an article I wrote about the Muse Tomo Museum in Tokyo. Daruma's homepage can be viewed at