Ceramics and Modernity in Japan offers a set of critical perspectives on the creation, patronage, circulation, and preservation of ceramics during Japan’s most dramatic period of modernization, the 1860s to 1960s.

As in other parts of the world, ceramics in modern Japan developed along the three ontological trajectories of art, craft, and design. Yet, it is widely believed that no other modern nation was engaged with ceramics as much as Japan—a "potter’s paradise"—in terms of creation, exhibition, and discourse. This book explores how Japanese ceramics came to achieve such a status and why they were such significant forms of cultural production. Its medium-specific focus encourages examination of issues regarding materials and practices unique to ceramics, including their distinct role throughout Japanese cultural history. Going beyond descriptive historical treatments of ceramics as the products of individuals or particular styles, the closely intertwined chapters also probe the relationship between ceramics and modernity, including the ways in which ceramics in Japan were related to their counterparts in Asia and Europe.

Featuring contributions by leading international specialists, this book will be useful to students and scholars of art history, design, and Japanese studies.

chapter 1|17 pages

A potter’s paradise

The realm of ceramics in modern Japan

part 19I|1 pages

chapter 2|19 pages

Tradition, modernity, and national identity

Celadon production at the Makuzu ceramic workshop 1870–1916

chapter 3|26 pages

More than “Western”

Porcelain for the Meiji Emperor’s table

part 67II|1 pages

chapter 4|21 pages

Modernizing ceramic form and decoration

Kyoto potters and the Teiten

chapter 5|16 pages

Unifying science and art

The Kyoto City Ceramic Research Institute (1896–1920) and ceramic art education during the Taisho era

part 107III|1 pages

chapter 6|19 pages

The spark that ignited the flame

Hamada Shōji, Paterson’s Gallery, and the birth of English studio pottery

part 167IV|1 pages

part |1 pages


chapter 11|11 pages

Found in translation

Ceramics and social change