Tradition, modernity, and national identity
Miyagawa Kozan had been born into a family of Kyoto potters who produced tea wares for the domestic market, but, soon after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, he boldly moved 400 kilometers east to the newly opened port of Yokohama in order to set up a workshop manufacturing enameled Satsuma-style earthenwares for the Western market. Kozan was well versed in a variety of traditional Chinese and Japanese decorative styles. When he took over the Kyoto family business in 1860, he continued the work of his father, Chozo, who had produced matcha and sencha tea utensils that reflected the influence of his former master, the bunjin potter and painter Aoki Mokubei. Kozan became particularly renowned for his “transmutation” glazes. These transmutation wares were highly popular with Western audiences and it can be argued that they were made primarily in response to Western fashions and to Chinese-style porcelains made in the West.