Interview with the townspeople
Konomi Kenmoku-Ceramic artist-
Konomi Kenmoku is a potter living in Mashiko Town, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. It is famous for making original pottery. She reached a turning point as a potter under the influence of the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred in Japan in 2011.
Yukihiro Ohta-Ceramic artist-
He has been making pottery for the last thirty-six years. Though Yukihiro Ohta is a leading ceramicist, he is also a blues guitarist. Together with the band Narukami, he has released three CDs. His pottery is appealing not only for its beautiful form but also for the vigor and vitality it expresses so thoroughly. When he creates his pieces, he turns his potter’s wheel with a rhythm not unlike a musical performance. Located amidst the mountains of Mashiko, Mr. Ohta’s studio hosts a near-daily live demonstration of the art of creating ceramics.
Takashi Sato-Ceramic artist-
The pale yellow color makes these vessels appear plain and simple, yet also seemingly hints at their delicate craftsmanship.
The potter who creates them is Takashi Sato.
He has inherited the traditional techniques of Mashiko ware, and added a new aesthetic to them to create everyday pottery suitable for modern dining tables.
We asked Mr. Sato about his creations, which are featured in select stores and popular galleries, and also extremely popular among young people.
Fujiya Sakuma-Ceramic artist-
Shoji Hamada (1894~1978) was a potter who had elevated Mashiko ware from everyday tableware to works of art that people would display in their alcove.
Fujiya Sakuma is the grandson of Totaru Sakuma (1900~1976), who had extensive contact with Shoji Hamada.
We spoke to Fujiya Sakuma, who continues to make original products in Mashiko even today, on what had inspired him to become a potter and about Mashiko ware in general.
Tomoo Hamada-Ceramic artist-
Tomo Hamada is the grandson of Shoji Hamada, a national living treasure of Japan who had elevated the value of Japanese folk crafts such as pottery.
Even today, Tomo Hamada does not utilize any automation when crafting pottery, choosing instead to rely on his century-old handcrafting techniques. The pottery crafted by Hamada is now being sold in design-centric stores in Tokyo, and we have taken this opportunity to speak to him about the unique appeal of Mashiko ware.
Red, green, purple, yellow… Insects, fish, cats, and iguanas - bursting with vivid colors.
The artist Yasuko Kato, who lives in Mashiko, draws humorous and colorful pictures of creatures that bring out a smile as soon as you see them.
Everything is drawn with colored pencils.
We interviewed Yasuko Kato, whose works have been well received at each of her solo exhibitions, about her work and her opinion on Mashiko.
Yuichi Yokoyama-Ceramic artist-
Yuichi Yokoyama is a ceramic artist in Mashiko of Tochigi Prefecture who holds a hands-on pottery workshop for the general public while running two cafés, a restaurant, and a bakery. Yokoyama set up these various channels as he wanted to create more opportunities for people to be exposed to the art of pottery. We spoke to Yokoyama about his thoughts on Mashiko ware.