Mashikoyaki and Mingei



Mashiko is a small town in Tochigi Prefecture, but it is well known abroad through the famous potter Hamada Shoji. And through Yanagi Soetsu (Sooetsu) , who introduced the folk craft movement in Japan.

Mashiko pottery, mashikoyaki 益子焼
mingei, folk craft 民芸

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"true beauty is not made ; it is born naturally"

The term mingei (folk art) was coined by Yanagi Soetsu (1889-1961) in 1926 to refer to common crafts that had been brushed aside and overlooked by the industrial revolution. Yanagi's book "The Unknown Craftsman" has since become a classic.
source : www.e-yakimono.net

日本民藝館 Nihon Mingei-kan
Japan Folk Craft Museum in Tokyo

Mingei Museum in Tottori , 鳥取民芸美術館
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Hagi Pottery 萩焼 Hagiyaki

Like many of the great Japanese ceramic traditions of Western Japan, Hagi originated with Korean potters. Indeed, in the Momoyama era (1573-1603) and in the early years of the Edo period (1603 - 1867), ceramics like Karatsu, Agano, Satsuma and Takatori first saw their wheels set in motion when, willingly or not, Korean potters were brought back to Japan in the "pottery wars" of 1592 and 1597-98.
source : www.e-yakimono.net


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HAMADA Shoji (1894-1978)

was the most well-known folk art ceramist of the 20th century. He studied under ITAYA Hazan and began a lifelong friendship with KAWAI Kanjiro when he was still in high school. Later on he befriended English potter Bernard Leach and philosopher YANAGI Soetsu; they started the folk art movement together.

HAMADA established his studio in Mashiko, Tochigi prefecture, and his mingei works have been held in the highest esteem in Japan as well as abroad. Hamada was designated a Living National Treasure in 1955.

Hamada Shooji 浜田庄司 <> Mashiko Potter and Mingei

Shōji Hamada (濱田 庄司, Hamada Shōji
December 9, 1894 – January 5, 1978
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


The pottery town of Mashiko has seen a lot of destruction from the earthquake on March 11, 2011.
Some important pieces by Hamada Shoji have fallen down and are now in sherds.

. Japan after the Earthquake  
March 11, 2011


TOMOO HAMADA 濱田友緒 (はまだ ともお)
In the footsteps of a genius grandfather

The perks and pressures of being the child of someone famous can be enormous -- doubly so if following in the family footsteps. In Japan, with its grand artistic traditions, this is not an uncommon phenomenon. The results, though, range across a broad spectrum, from glory (not always deserved -- think of political dynasties), to competency (often bringing wealth and fame anyway), or derivation (mere imitation that finds a market only thanks to the family's "brand name").

Shoji Hamada (1894-1978) was a founding member of the Mingei movement, a living national treasure and the person who saved Mashiko pottery from extinction when he settled there in 1924. It's even been said that much of what gets produced in Mashiko these days shouldn't be called Mashiko-yaki, but Hamada-yaki!

That may be pushing it too far, but it certainly shows the tremendous and unending influence this sophisticated "country" potter had on Mashiko. His son Shinsaku followed in the family trade and became a solid, gracious potter, yet never had the smack of genius that dad possessed. Hamada's top apprentice, the living national treasure Tatsuzo Shimaoka, found fame with a simple rope pattern that really had nothing to do with Mashiko, though he is a wonderful Mashiko-based potter.

Now, though, the winds of fortune are shifting. A new Hamada, Shoji's grandson and Shinsaku's second son, Tomoo (1967-), is creating a new style of Mashiko.
source : Japan Times, June 2004


My Teabowl by Hamada Shoji

(Photo TBA)

Anyway, I have a tea bowl for green powdered tea (chawan) in my collection, which was (probably) made by Hamada when he was staying in Hagi for a while on his way to Okinawa to study Hagi Pottery.

The bowl is 8 cm high and has a diameter of 13,5 cm, the foot 5 cm. It is hand-signed and has a stamp mark (asahi 朝日).
It has a handwritten inscription which I can not completely read, saying something like:

Seeking non-movement in movement
Autum getting deeper
at the village of Uji.

And a signature of the date (also not deciperable)

The painting of Daruma is very simple, almost as if painted by a child.
The pot feels pretty un-used, as if it had been on a shelf for all its life.

UPDATE one day later:
With the help of Robert we figured, this was not HAGI and most probably not Hamada. But behold, read to the end.

Asahi pottery (Asahi-yaki)
Michael Leach, the second son of Bernard Leach
. Hamada Chawan, a mystery unfolds


My Information

Noren ... Door curtains in Katsuama

Take ... Bamboo art in Asia

Take ... Bamboo baskets / photo


External LINK

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


Related words

I moved to Mashiko from Minnesota to study with Hamada's student Tatsuzo Shimaoka.
I apprenticed with Shimaoka for 3 years.
***** WKD : Potter Lee from Mashiko

WASHOKU ... Tableware and Tools


1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...

About Hagi Yaki
Features of Hagi Yaki Pottery