Japanese Pottery: History Modernity

Japanese pottery dates back to the neolithic period, or 12 000 years ago, making it one of the oldest pottery traditions in the world. This links closely with modern ceremonies such as the tea ceremony. Japanese pottery is famous for its simple sophistication, often earthenware with rich character - this is closely linked to Zen Buddhism and wabi-sabi. There are also porcelain style crafts that are highly influenced by Chinese porcelain traditions.

But traditional Japanese crafts have had to adapt to the modern world. In many parts of the country, potteries and crafts were losing their sparkle due to the encroachment of robots, technology and the ubiquitous cellphone.  But Japan is a traditional country that often finds ways to be innovative, marrying the old and the new at once. One such example is Arita's Happy Lucky Kiln which successfully brought traditional pottery as a trade into the modern world, both locally in Japan and internationally. 


Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

The Kouraku Kiln is a 150-year old porcelain factory in Arita Saga Prefecture. Its traditional style of pottery production was struggling with economic decline. In response, the Kiln used creative business strategies to overcome this issue. The Kiln innovatively invited both local and international artists to promote the kiln by working there. Domestically, migration from Japanese potterers who had been displaced by the Fukushima disaster post-2011 had created local networks. Internationally, artists who had come from abroad to take residence at the Kiln, such as Sebastiao Pimenta, created unique, cross-cultural spaces. Through social media these amazing crafts are transplanted from 150 years ago into the modern world.

Likewise, Oji Shop spirits away traditional Japanese craftware and brings it directly to your door in South Africa. You gain access to a world of crafts that is thousands of years old, making it a special piece of history right in your own home. Oji Shop provides precious and valuable pieces of art made by Kutani-Iwataya (as featured below) amongst many other incredible pottery.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.