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2002 Newsletter Archive



                   Written by Robert Yellin

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October 2002


New Musuem in Gifu; New Ceramic Dict.

- New Modern Ceramic Museum in Gifu
- Major Ceramic Dictionary Published
- New Books
- Last Sake-Pottery Seminar at Mushu
- Tea On-Line
- Price Off on Selected items

Greetings to all from Mishima.

It has been awhile and I hope this finds you well on your side of this amazing cyber world. In Mishima all is well and I'm glad to be getting into the arts season where it's easier to see and find good works. The summer was awfully hot here and not much was happening even through the end of September -- except our Mihara Ken exhibition, which ended and was enjoyed by many. Thank you for taking the time to look at the on-line works and his interview done by Keiko Nishi.

New Modern Ceramic Museum in Gifu
Speaking of Mihara, two large vessels in our exhibition will be on display at the opening of the new Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu (Gifu-ken Gendai Togei Bijutsukan). The museum opens on October 12 and is not far from Tajimi station in Gifu prefecture. The director of the museum, Mr. Enomoto Toru, came to Mishima to select the Mihara works, for it was closer to come from Nagoya than to go to Mihara's studio in Shimane! The museum is set amongst lush green hills and is quite large with the latest in technology including a digital library with programs about Miwa Kyusetsu, Kato Takuo, Yamada Hikaru, and Tomimoto Kenkichi among others. The first exhibition will focus on Japanese ceramics of the last hundred years and is titled '"From Artisan to Artist, The Evolution of Japanese Ceramic Art" and runs until January 19, 2003. That will be followed by a world ceramic exhibition -- Ceramic Art from an International Perspective -- starting from January 25 to March 23, 2003.

The musuem does have a web site up at Although still under construction, there is enough general information there now. I hope to get there soon and will hopefully have a full report in the next newsletter.

Major Ceramic Dictionary Published
Not since the 1972 release of Kato Tokuro's "Genshoku Toki Dai Jiten" (a very comprehensive ceramic dictionary) has a similar book appeared on the market. That is until this year. With over 1,500 pages (Kato's was about 1000 pages) and about 1,300 color photos, the "Encyclopedia of Japanese Ceramics" is a colossal work! It took 220 writers and 24 editors years to complete and not only includes all there is to know about ancient wares but is very up-to-date with entries on contemporary potters such as Kakurezaki Ryuichi, Kawase Shinobu, Mori Togaku, and Morino Taimei -- just to name a few. Maps and all kinds of charts are in the back of this deluxe book -- only drawback though is, of course, it's in Japanese only. Yet, it is a must for any scholar or library. Published by Kadokawa. Inquiries can be made by contacting JapanesePotteryBooks at

New Books
Other new books worthy of mention include a re-issuing of Kodansha's "Famous Ceramics of Japan" series in which they've combined the Shino and Oribe books into one smaller-sized volume. Now, it's great to see this work back in print and it does offer an exceptional overview of the histories of the two great styles. Yet, I wish Kodansha had invested a little time and money to make it up-to-date. It originally came out in the mid 1980s and much has changed since then with the contemporary potters featured in the back. For example, Kishimoto Kennin doesn't even make Shino anymore, and eight of the listed potters have passed on. It would have been quite easy to amend the list to include Hori Ichiro, Kagami Shukai, Kato Yasukage, and others. The same holds true for the Oribe section as well. To be positive though, it does offer a nice look at what was going on then and one can see some fine Shino chawan by Hayashi Kotaro and Kishimoto with a few more.

Kodansha went into this reissue as a way to "test the waters" to find if an interest exists. If you do not have this book I highly recommend it and it can be ordered at almost any large bookstore worldwide or at the link above.

Not really a book -- the "Modern Revival of Momyama Ceramics: Turning Point Toward Modernization of Ceramics" -- is a fine exhibition catalog looking at Momyama-Period Tea wares and how they relate to the works of some of the early 20th century great potters like Kaneshige Toyo, Rosanjin, Arakawa Toyozo, Kawakita Handeishi and a few others. A few essays in Japanese and English as are all captions and list of works. The glossary and dateline are in Japanese only -- about 85 ceramic works all in color photos. Again, please make inquire with

Last Sake / Pottery Seminar at Mushu (in Tokyo)
On the evening of October 18, sake specialist John Gauntner ( and I will be hosting the last Mushu event as they are closing and relocating to ritzy Ginza. Mushu has been a great space for these fun and enlightening evenings and I'll be sad to see its doors close. Hoping for the best in the new locale. The event begins at 6 pm and lasts for about three hours, or until all the sake runs out. I'll be taking about kodai and bringing examples of good, and lousy, "'feet" to illustrate the point. John will be talking about some fascinating point on sake culture. For those of you in the NYC area, he will be at the Japan Society on Tuesday, October 29 -- for more information please see John's site on his site's event page. For more information, please email John or me. Gotta love John's e-mail address:

Green Tea Online
Good green tea (ocha) -- do not call me in the morning if I don't have a cup! It is my favored wake-up beverage not only because it is so damn healthy, but also the caffeine content, and the subtler way it affects my body (not that buzzzzz like coffee) makes me purr. AND, I get to use one of my Hagi, or Shino, or Iga yunomi which only makes the ocha taste better and is a great way to "'get a grip" on the day. Now I have it easy in obtaining good ocha -- yet for those not so fortunate may I suggest you pay a visit to

I'm quite particular about my ocha and told Larry (he's the proprietor), so when he approached me for a reciprocal link, I requested samples and thus they came. I liked the ocha and that is why I can recommend it here. 

Price Off on Selected Items
As a way to show our appreciation to all after one year in our Mishima office, I'd like to offer 20% off on selected items from page 10 onward in our online collection at If you see any items that are of interest to you, please e-mail me at To email Robert, click the "Email Us" button at top of page..

It is been a wonderful year, okagesamade (thanks to you). This discount is a small way to say "honto ni domo arigatougozaimashita." I also hope you enjoy viewing the newer items listed.

And now to close with a line taken from "The Little Zen Companion," written by Robert M. Pirsig: "The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he (may I add she as well here, RY) does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower. To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha, which is to demean oneself."

Until the next time.

Robert Yellin
To email Robert, click the "Email Us" button at top of page.


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