Koyama Fujio’s view of modern Japanese ceramics and his role in the creation of “Living National Treasures”
Ceramics occupy an exceptional position among the various categories of postwar Japanese craft. In the prewar period, mainstream craftsmen hailed from the Tokyo School of Fine Arts and participated in the official Imperial Art Academy Exhibitions. The first academic group for the study of ceramics, the Tojiki Kenkyukai, was formed in 1914 under the leadership of Okochi Masatoshi and Okuda Seiichi. Okochi, professor of physics at Tokyo University, and Okuda, tutor of psychology, called together professors from other departments to start this ceramics study group. Towards the end of the Pacific War in 1945, Koyama was drafted into the military, and the end of the war found him in Korea as a second lieutenant. After repatriation, he became involved with the Japan Ceramics Promotion Association. In the immediate postwar years, severe food shortages beset Japan, which had to rely on food imports from the United States.