Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




Introduction to Contemporary Art


Arts and crafts

「ハーイ、コンニチワ! ヤヨイちゃん」と「ハーイ、コンニチワ! ポチ」

These are sculptures,

“Hi, Konnichiwa (Hello)! Yayoi-chan” and “Hi, Konnichiwa (Hello)! Pochi”.

I visited a contemporary art exhibition of Yayoi Kusama

at Kanazu-Sosaku-no-Mori (Kanaz FOREST of CREATION) in Awara City, Fukui Prefecture. *Photography allowed for these sculptures


It was strange for me to see Kusama's works for the first time even though I’ve always known about her. I enjoyed the contemporary art.



ぐるっと展望!現代アート入門 -高橋コレクション―

This is the leaflet of the exhibition,

“The Introduction to Contemporary Art"


Kerokuro (a kicking potter’s wheel)


Arts and crafts

Many of you may think about potter’s wheel when you hear the word, “pottery”.

If the potters are professionals or amateurs does not matter, most potters these days use electronic potter’s wheel but a young Echizen-yaki potter I interviewed the other day was actually using the older one called “Kerokuro (kicking potter’s wheel).

The kicking potter’s wheel is made with two heavy wooden discs connected up and down.

The potter puts clay on the top part of the wheel, and he kicks the bottom part to turn the wheel. According to the potter, he can freely change the speed and/or direction of the wheel with adjusting a force when he kicks the bottom part.
The best part of the kicking potter's wheel is quietness.


The scene of making potteries without any sound of motors and/or any electronical equipmets was perfect for the studio with the tweet of birds.



Japanese Pottery / Wood-fired Kiln on a Summer Night


Arts and crafts

The other night, I had an opportunity to take pictures of making a pottery in a wood-fired kiln at an Echizen-yaki potter’s studio.

In modern pottery art, gas, kerosene, electricity and firewood are used as fuel to make potteries. Potters change the fuel depends on its style.

There are many restrictions on obtaining firewood than purchasing other fuels. Also, to install kilns is restricted as well, so that it cannot be installed anywhere. Even it is not easy to make potteries in the wood-fired kilns, it seems that there are rather many potters still use the kilns to inherit “yakishime” which is to make pottery at a high temperature and is the tradition of Echizen-yaki pottery.


As the firewood is thrown into the kiln, flames rise high from the kiln. Although I am sure that being in front of the kiln must be extremely hot and it must be tough, it is beautiful to see the flames of firewood at a distance.


Shortly after the firewood was thrown into the kiln, flame started coming out from the tall chimney.


Rainy season and “Yakishime” (the potteries which are fired with the unglazed firing technique)


Arts and crafts



I just took photographs of works by Reiko Kouen, Echizen-yaki pottery artist, at her studio today. As I was taking photographs, I started getting carried away and putting her works outside in shrubberies and weed outside the studio and they looked nicer than I expected them to be.

The potteries which are fired at high temperature with the unglazed (without “Yuyaku”=”Uwagusuri”) firing technique are called “Yakishime” in Japanese. When these potteries are arranged in the rainy season scenery, they look more alive as similar as plants.


1,000-year technique of Echizen-yaki pottery


Arts and crafts

I visited the pottery studio of an Echizen-yaki pottery artist Nobuyasu Kondo in Echizen Town,
Fukui Prefecture. And he showed me a traditional technique called “Nejitate”(twist and stand).
Contrary to normal work by a potter’s wheel, he forms a pottery walking round and round
the work in progress on a log base.
While walking round, he piles up thick string-shaped clay twisting it with fingers rhythmically
and adjusts the height using a wooden spatula from the outside.


I suppose that the reason for such an old technique since the Heian Period remains
after the introduction of potter’s wheel, it has been suitable for making large potteries like pots or vases. At any rate, the pot with the technique “Nejitate”, which I saw right before
my eyes, looked thin and delicate than I imagined.
(The photo above shows the lower half has just finished)