Walking on Drift Ice
If you go to Arita, be sure to visit these famous kilns where tradition and ceremony live on.
With a history that stretches back 370 years, almost as long as the history of Arita ware itself, Kakiemon has created its own distinct picture porcelain in Arita. The found of Kakiemon, Kizaemon Sakaida, succeeded in creating a vivid, persimmon-like red glaze over the white porcelain. Kakiemon's porcelain, which depicts Japan's natural beauty in an elegant, bright red over the milky-white ceramic, was sought after by European nobility, cementing the Kakiemon technique as one of the three main styles of Arita. The name Kakiemon is now known throughout the world.
In the Edo period, the Imaizumi Imaemon family produced Iro Nabeshima colored porcelain for tributes to the shogunate family and gifts to nobility as the official overglaze producers of the Nabeshima Clan. The formula for the glaze is a secret that has been handed down to only one son of each generation, and the Imaemon Kiln continues these traditions and techniques to this day. In 2014, present head Imaemon XIV was recognized as a Living National Treasure at the young age of 51. He is a master of the Sumihajiki technique that has been used since the Edo period, and through techniques such as Sekka-Sumihajiki that captures the beauty of snow flakes, and the new Purachina-Sai glaze that seems to draw in the light around it, he produces elegant Iro Nabeshima colored porcelain for the modern age.
At the Exposition Universelle held in Paris in 1900, Arita ware took the people of Europe by storm. Fukagawa Seiji had a dazzling two-meter vase on display there. Six years earlier, Chuji Fukagawa established Fukagawa Seiji with the dream of creating the world's greatest porcelain, and he went on to win the gold medal award at the expo. Since then, the kiln has expanded overseas aggressively, and now has a number of international agencies. One of the characteristics of Fukagawa Seiji is the clarity of its cobalt blue underglaze, which is known as Fukugawa Blue. Its beauty has earned high praise from connoisseurs of fine art around the world. In 2005, a studio was also established in Milan.