Pottery with iron glaze
Hamada Shōji (1894-1978)
Hamada Shōji was a well-known Mingei ceramic artist. He first studied ceramics under Itaya Hazan at
Tokyo institute of technology, though he intended to be a ceramist but a mere potter. After the
graduation in 1916, he studied glaze with Kawai Kanjirō, another well-known Mingei artist. Around
the time, he met Yanagi Muneyoshi (Sōetsu) who was the pioneer Mingei movement, Tomimoto
Kenkichi who was a ceramist, and Bernard Leach; the pioneer of studio ceramic in Britain.
In 1920 he accompanied with Leach and they built a kiln in St Ives, and held Hamada held the solo exhibition
in London in 1923. He returned to Japan the following year. He first stayed in Okinawa
studying local pottery and eventually settled down in Mashiko, Tochigi prefecture. He became a
Living National Treasure in 1955.
He was an enthusiastic supporter of Mingei movement, then he took over the director of Mingei-kan
in 1961 after Yanagi Muneyoshi. He also established another Mingei museum Sankō-kan in Mashiko
This piece shows his features very well: hand wheeled simple shape and dynamic drawing with iron
glaze. As he intended, we can find the beauty in the daily life pottery.