Mashiko, Tochigi prefecture.
Mashiko, which began producing mostly practical ceramic vessels in the mid-1850s, was struuggling by the early 20th century. The initially unwelcome arrival of Hamada Shouji in 1924, however, shook things up, and was to prove to be the start of a Mashiko-yaki revival pulled along by the mingei folk-art movement.
After graduating from Motomachi High School in 2004, Yoshino Shun relocated to Mashiko where he studied at the Sakuma Totaro Kiln. Sakuma Totaro is the man who persuaded his suspicious family to allow Hamada Shouji to stay and work at the family kiln when he first arrived in the conservative village in 1924.
In his work in this exhibition, Yoshino displays a modern sensibilty combined with the long tradition of Mashiko pottery. On display you’ll find practical tableware, to which Machiko-yaki is well suited, as well as ornamental plates and flower vases. The works are also on sale. With prices ranging from under ¥1000 to about ¥20,000 this might be a good opportunity to pick up something for your home or as a gift for friends and family back home.
You can read more about Mashiko-yaki and the relationship between Hamada Shouji and Sakuma Totaro in this informative article on the Japan Times website by Robert Yellin.
The exhibition is showing at gallery G until Sunday, July 8. Open 11:00-20:00 (until 17:00 on the final day).