Words by Mr. Yoshihiro Imura:
”White porcelain of the heart”
The first contact with the artist is always a very joyful moment for me, because it is a very natural and happy moment when I can feel the correlation between the artist and his work. For over thirty years, I have been devoting my life’s work to old “Imari” and “Kakiemon of Arita “ porcelain arts which had been exported from Nagasaki to Europe in the early years of the Edo Era , causing a chinaware boom all over Europe.
Mr. Shirakata has the same nonchalant aura that one can feel in the vases of his
workmanship. He is an artist who can instill heart into white porcelain, even though white porcelain is a material through which it is hard to impart emotion. I still remember clearly that I felt joy in my mind because my eyes really caught his sensibility, and my heart leaped up with joy for the future when I would see the world of Yasuhiko Shirakata.
Another story concerns my encounter with the lucky cat. I was able to understand
instinctively that the lucky cat has a different quaint atmosphere compared with Mr.
Shirakata’s other works. When I listened carefully, I came to realize that it’s Mrs. Shirakata who makes the lucky cat, and Mr. Shirakata gives the finishing touch to it. I saw why the cat has such a heartwarming aura when I met Mrs. Shirakata, who has such a benevolent personality which conveys everything generously and gently.
I came to understand that the straight and naive artwork made by Mr. Yasuhiko Shirakata is based not only on his mind, but also on his long-term trained skill on the potter’s wheel, on his technique of firing, and furthermore on the deep love of his family who have supported him warmly.
By long tradition, the chinaware business is a family business. All of the family members cooperate together and produce their works heartfully one by one with the hope that not only the artist and his family but also the person who receives it will become happy. There are many important aspects to the production of chinaware. The strong hope of making the holder happy is one of them.
The essence of Hachizui Kiln is the fact that both the husband and the wife hold the same mind and fire into their porcelain arts. I think it’s one of the most heartful kilns.
I believe that this wish of theirs, combined with the raw clay, fire and glaze, make the hearts of observers and users feel relaxed and fulfilled.
Kyoto Bisho Inc.
Mr.Yoshihiro Imura Kyoto Bisho., Ltd. CEO
Since the company was founded in 1961, the late owner, Mr. Yoshihiro Imura’s father returned Old Imari and Kakiemon style masterpieces from Europe, re-introducing and selling them in Japan. After taking over his father’s company, Mr. Imura discovered the mysterious artworks of Japonism Baccarat, researching and collecting approximately 700 pieces of Old Baccarat, and 800 pieces of Kakiemon and Imaemon style art.
Other than Baccarat, his company also handles European antiques such as Emile Galle, Daum Freres and Meissen, as well as porcelain arts from the Edo era to modern times including Kakiemon and Imaemon style art. Selections of his Arita style porcelain arts collection are exhibited at the Imura Museum, mainly those from the tenth Imaemon, and eleventh Kakiemon style pieces, where much effort was devoted in its restoration.
Mr. Imura’s collection and research features the fine art, hand crafted with the wish of happiness and enjoyment of the receiver. Through his actions, he hopes the interest and understanding in these types of art will expand to everyone.
He has also published several art books about Kakiemon and Imaemon style porcelain art, art nouveau design glass wares and Old Baccarat.
Imari porcelain is the name for Japanese porcelain wares made in the town of Arita, in the former Hizen Province, northwestern Kyūshū. They were exported to Europe extensively from the port of Imari, Saga, between the second half of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century. The Japanese as well as Europeans called them Imari. In Japanese, these porcelains are also known as Arita-yaki.