NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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李参平碑 Risanpei-hi Monument to Ri Sampei

Jp En

When Naoshige Nabeshima, who later founded the Saga Clan, returned to Japan following the invasion of Korea in the late 16th century, he brought with him a group of Korean potters. One of them was Ri Sampei (Korean name Lee Cham-Pyung), who discovered kaolin and succeeded in making porcelain for the first time in Japan in 1616. This first porcelain was later developed into the three types of porcelain ware: Ko-Imari, Kakiemon and Nabeshima, which came to establish Arita as the birthplace of Japanese porcelain.

Ri Sampei is enshrined at Toyama-jinja Shrine in Odaru, Arita-cho. Behind the main shrine and situated at the top of Mt Renge-Ishiyama, stands a monument to Ri Sampei. This is also a good spot to get a panoramic view of the town of Arita.

The monument to Ri Sampei was erected in 1916 (Taisho 5) on the 300th anniversary of Arita ware. Since then, the Toso matsuri festival, celebrating the founding of porcelain, has been held each year on May 4th.
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酒井田 柿右衛門 (人間国宝) Sakaida Kakiemon Kakiemon Sakaida

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Kakiemon Sakaida was born in 1934 in Arita, Saga Prefecture, and graduated from the Nihonga (Japanese Painting) Department of Tama Art College, Tokyo.

In 1983, he succeeded to the title of 14th Kakiemon. In 1984, he won the Japan Ceramic Association prize and, both in 1986 and 1992, the Japan Handicraft Association encouragement prize at the Japan Traditional Handicraft Exhibition.

In 2001, he was designated as a holder of an Important Intangible Cultural Asset (Iroe pottery), and a Living National Treasure. Now, he is director of the Japan Handicraft Association, a leading member of the Japan Handicraft Association West Branch and a professor of art at the Kyushu Industry Graduate School.

Kakiemon was the name awarded to the first ceramicist in Arita, Hizen country, who developed Iroe-jiki porcelain. Kakiemons are famous for the unique styles of Iroe ware: with red glaze, or with a milk-white ground and bright, vivid overglazed decoration. Their Iroe ware are both splendid and graceful, elegantly employing blank spaces. The work of various Kakiemon has influenced Meissen pottery in Europe and Jingdezhen pottery in China.

Kakiemon Sakaida says: 'I have made new dishes and designs, but pottery for daily use is more difficult to make than art.' He has always endeavored to follow his clients' wishes when creating new work. He currently makes decorations based on strawberries or foxtails.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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