chapter  1
17 Pages

A potter’s paradise

The realm of ceramics in modern Japan
WithMeghen Jones

Since the end of World War II, the realm of ceramics in Japan has often been described as a “potter’s paradise.” The celebrated ceramic artist Tomimoto Kenkichi remarked in 1946 to readers of a popular women’s journal, “Superior quality ceramics permeate Japan, and probably no other nation’s people are interested in ceramics as much as the Japanese.” “Modern Japan” generally refers to the period of industrialization and cultural transformation that occurred due to the so-called opening of Japan to the outside world in the mid-nineteenth century. Ceramics as a medium in modern Japan bears a particular set of relationships to the past and the outside world. As one of the oldest known mediums, it positions modern makers within an incredibly long continuum of making. It was largely accepted that the first ceramic vessels in the world were produced in Japan, although ceramic finds of an earlier age have been uncovered in China.