Exhibitions and Events

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Tokuzawa Moritoshi: Fusion of Black and White

After finishing school, Tokuzawa Moritoshi became a live-in apprentice to potter Nakazato Taroemon (Muan) XII, a Living National Treasure. He also visited ancient kiln sites in the company of Nakazato, who was engaged in reviving Kogaratsu; researched clay; and studied pottery fragments for technical and design inspiration. In Tokuzawa's own words his apprenticeship consisted of days spent "exploring ancient kilns and immersing myself in Karatsu both physically and mentally in a bid to find original expressions."

The beauty of Karatsu depends not just on shape but also significantly on the character of its clay, and on the characteristics emerging out of firing. The look and feel of Karatsu ware therefore improve with use, and gain appeal with age. Relocating from Karatsu meant losing access to its raw clay. However, Tokuzawa, after finishing his apprenticeship, established his own kiln in Sue. Located near Fukuoka Airport, Sue is known for the production of Sue pottery during the Kofun period. During the Edo period, Sue was home to the Kuroda domain's official Sue ware kiln. In Sue, a region with a long and prestigious tradition of ceramic production, Tokuzawa built a split-bamboo style noborigama (climbing kiln), and took on the production of Chosen Karatsu ware. Tokuzawa explains why he chose Chosen Karatsu from among the many varieties of Karatsu as follows: "Despite its apparent simplicity, Karatsu encompasses a great variety of clays and glazes. The unpredictable Chosen Karatsu was the one for me because of the beauty of its glazes. No matter how many years of experience you may have, you are invariably swinging between elation and disappointment based on what you take out of the kiln. Whereas techniques like painting and carving can express exactly what the artist's hand has achieved, Chosen Karatsu produces wondrous natural hues that aren't found in paint colors."

Tokuzawa's Chosen Karatsu Mizusashi (fresh water jug) received the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology award at the 54th Japan Traditional Kogei Exhibition in 2007. The work, purchased by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, came in a shape resembling a large abacus bead, with white straw-ash glaze radiating aurora-like around the rim, demonstrating a splendid harmony of form and glaze-flow. Among the most distinctive features of the Chosen Karatsu pieces created by Tokuzawa is the glaze keshiki ("landscape") resulting from the melding of black iron glaze and white straw-ash glaze, something made extremely difficult to prepare and achieve successfully due to the roughly 100°C difference in the melting points of the two glazes. In pursuit of a keshiki resembling "a waterfall sparkling with light" or "auroras on a freezing night," the artist works tirelessly to achieve forms that maximize the effect of glaze-flow. Another feature of his work is his original Bizen-inspired yakishime firing technique devised and employed to bring Karatsu ware's distinctive and appealing tsuchi-aji (character of clay) to the fore. In 2010, Tokuzawa was awarded the Yushu-sho prize at the Contemporary Ceramics for the Tea Ceremony: Free Creativity 3rd Musée Tomo Award for his Yakishime Chosen Karatsu Shizuku Vase, a work featuring a scarlet-hued body achieved by yakishime, applied with Chosen Karatsu glaze and bold beveling. By leaving his piece partially unglazed instead of coating it entirely with glaze, Tokuzawa successfully highlighted Chosen Karatsu's fresh appeal, and demonstrated his aesthetic approach of learning from tradition while taking on the challenge of creating Chosen Karatsu as it has never been seen before. The present exhibition showcases eight works that are excellent embodiments of Tokuzawa's unique aesthetic marriage of form and glaze.

Koichi Mori (Art Critic and Executive Director of the Japan Ceramics Society)

  • Flower Vase, Korean Karatsu H450×Ø370mm
  • Flower Vase, Korean Karatsu H450×Ø370mm
Date 2 Aptil - 16 June, 2020
Open Hours 10:00-18:00
Closed Wednesdays, 24 May, 2020
Admission Free
Planned and organized by LIXIL Corporation


1943 Born in Kyoto City, Kyoto
1967 Began studying under Karatsu ware potter and living national treasure NAKAZATO Taroemon (Muan)ⅩⅡ
1972 Constructed a kiln in Suemachi, Kasuya-gun, Fukuoka Prefecture to become independent
1974 First solo exhibition at Nihombashi Mitsukoshi department store
Since then, has held solo exhibitions in various places
1977 First time selected for the Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition
Has since been selected for the exhibition 28 times
1983 Became a regular member of the Japan Kōgei Association
2005 Began working as a part-time instructor at Saga Prefectural Arita College of Ceramics
2007 Won the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award at the 54th Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition
The award-winning work was purchased by the Agency for Cultural Affairs
2009 Submitted an article as an invited artist at the 20th Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition
2010 Won the Excellence Award at the 3rd Musée Tomo Grand Prize Exhibition,
“Gendai no cha – zokei no jiyu (Contemporary Tea Ceremony – Freedom of Forms)”
2012 Won the Japan Kōgei Association Award at the 44th Traditional Art Crafts Ceramics Group Exhibition
2015 Won the Encouragement Award at the 32nd Tanabe Museum of Art Award “Chanoyu no zokeiten (Art Exhibition of Tea Ceremony)”