Small Dishes, Mashiko-yaki, by Tagami Munetoshi. Kaki (persimmon) glaze with red/green-overglaze enamel lines & dots on whote border. H. .75"(2cm) x Dia. 4.5"(11.5cm.)
Tagami Munetoshi (b. 1972) is the son of Tagami Isamu and grandson of Sudo Takeo. He is the 5th generation of potters in Mashiko’s Hinatagama (Hinata Kiln) founded during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) by Sudo Yujiro. At the age of 16, he started his apprenticeship under his grandfather and then right after high school went to America to major in modern art at Minnesota’s St. Cloud University. In 2000, he graduated from the Tochigi Prefecture Ceramic Training Center, specializing in glaze studies. He has exhibited in and won awards at several Prefectural and National art exhibitions and continues his family’s work in the use of traditional and local Mashiko clay and glazes, much in the same way that his grandfather’s teacher, Hamada Shoji, did. Hinatagama (Hinata Kiln) was established in Mashiko by Sudo Yujiro during the Meiji Period (1868-1912.) Sudo Yujiro was a potter at the Jishoji-yaki kilns in Gumma Prefecture. Production at the Jishoji-yaki kilns had declined at the turn of the century and many potters relocated to Mashiko around 1905. In the kiln’s 2nd generation, under Sudo Yasutaro, there was considerable growth in Mashiko’s pottery industry and Hinatagama was a large kiln employing several craftsmen. This was also the period marked by the arrival of Hamada Shoji in Mashiko, who was to have a profound influence on this small folk pottery village, and Hinatagama itself. Folk wares, like Mashiko-yaki, were falling out of fashion technically and aesthetically, and the Mingei (Folk Craft) Movement; led by Yanagi Soetsu and potters like Hamada Shoji, Kawai Kanjiro, and Bernard Leach, ushered in a new era of individual studio artists who were inspired by folk craft, and who incorporated folk craft aesthetics into their work. Yasutaro’s son, Takeo, and Hamada’s 3rd son, Atsuya, were close friends who played together daily. Takeo eventually became an apprentice of Hamada Shoji, who by this time had been designated a National Living Treasure, and worked at the Hamada kiln. Afterwards, Hamada helped Takeo establish his own kiln directly in front of his own (the present-day site of the Hamada Sankokan Museum) and this is still the current site of Hinatagama today. Continuing as the 3rd generation of his family potting in Mashiko, Sudo Takeo (1931-1998) gained considerable recognition for his work as a Mashiko potter; representing Tochigi Prefecture abroad, having numerous exhibitions in Mashiko and Tokyo, training several future generations of Japanese and International potters, and having his vase featuring the traditional Mashiko kaki (persimmon) glaze presented to Crown Princess Masako in 1993. Hinatagama is currently operated by 4th and 5th generation potters, Tagami Isamu (Sudo Takeo’s son-in-law) and Tagami Munetoshi (grandson of Sudo Takeo,) who continue not only the pottery traditions of their family, but also the tradition of folk pottery in Mashiko.