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, January 28, 2010

Kawakita Handeishi--The Playful Chajin

In the world of 20th century Japanese Tea Ceramics there is one man who left a mark like no other, yet his first job was not as an artist yet as a wealthy banker of great privilege. His legacy is based on his magnificent chawan and other utensils associated with cha-no-yu, along with his profound influence on many younger potters of the day---think 1930s-40s--who later became the pillars of their own respective styles--think Kaneshige Toyo, Miwa Kyuwa and Arakawa Toyozo.
Handeishi Kawakita is his name and he referred to himself as an amateur, and his works do lack technical proficiency, but they are in keeping with an "amateur tradition" that dates back to the great Koetsu Honami (1558-1637). His chawan have charming personalities and quirky rhythms about them, bearing names such as "The Wealthy" or "Thin Ice"; Kawakita was well-known for the unusual names he bestowed on his works. A special retrospective on Kawakita will be held at the Sogo Museum in Yokohama from Feb. 11- March 22nd and this is not to be missed if at all possible. The museum is located on the sixth floor of the Sogo Department store at the east exit of Yokohama station. The 'museum' has a web page in Japanese only:

A bit more about Kawakita can be read here: