Visiting Takumi – Bizen Ware: Making your favorite things a job

April 11, 2016 We visited Masaaki Inomata, who is demonstrating his production at Aoyama Square.

Bizen ware master: Masaaki Inomata

Bizen ware is one of the six ancient kilns and is said to have already existed in the Heian period. It is a traditional craft of Okayama Prefecture, and it is one of the features that it is baked without glaze.

It is often baked in climbing kilns, and there are various ways of expressing glazes such as “Yochen”, “Sesame”, “Sangiri”, and “Hidasuki”.


I’m not suitable for salaried workers

How did you get into this world?

It is said that mr. Inomata entered this world because it was not suitable for salaried workers.


Mr. Inomata graduated from school and worked as a salaried worker for about two years. However, when I don’t like my job and say “I’m going to quit” to my boss, I’m not being held back and I’m told “Please.”


After quitting the company easily, Mr. Inomata headed to the Aichi Ceramics Training School. Originally, he was interested in pottery, so he thought this was the only one.

Along the times

After graduating from the Aichi Ceramic Training School, Mr. Inomata goes to the kiln of Otani ware, but he jumps out without a sense of air and heads to bizen ware pottery garden recommended by his friends.


At that time, at the pottery garden, even during training, the salary came out properly. Originally, Mr. Inomata thought that it was strange that people who are practicing work unpaid in the world of traditional crafts, so he worked hard with the feeling of being here.


When Mr. Inomata entered this world, pottery sold at a very high price. Mr. Inomata decided to become independent three years later, thinking that it would be better to open the kiln independently as soon as possible. Although the training period was short, I saw this industry as a business rather than art, so I guess I was able to take action.


between luck and ability

Everything is the first time

Mr. Inomata, who was independent, bought a climbing kiln and opened the kiln.


Although I know it because I was training, when it comes to actually doing everything with my own hands, it is different. Even so, Mr. Inomata was positive enough to challenge things he didn’t understand.


And, bizen ware made in the first kiln was taken up in the newspaper and traded at a comparatively high price.



The road of an unknown potteries

However, the commodity which sold has not sold at the first kiln at the second third time.
No matter how much the craft boom, they were not interested in young products that were not famous.


Mr. Inomata thought that it was not good as it was, and he went to all places to get people to know about himself. For example, it is a department store, an exhibition hall, or here in Aoyama Square.

People’s relationships spread on the spot. Of course, there are many things depending on luck as to what kind of people you can meet on the spot, but it seems that it has been made the best use of by the people who met it and has reached the present.

Who buys the product now?d?

According to Mr. Inomata, people in their 60s and 70s are people who say they like Bizen ware. I actually bought a lot of Bizen ware when I was young, so I have a connoisseur and harsh words. Young Bizen ware craftsmen seem to be listening to such people seriously and trying to make such things in anticipation.


However, Mr. Inomata is wondering, “Is that really ok?” Certainly, the eyes of people in their 60s and 70s may be certain. But are they trying to buy a new Bizen ware?
The answer is no.
Of course, some people may be trying to buy it, but most people already have a lot of Bizen ware, and it is a reality that many people think that they have to dispose of it.


So who’s the buyer?


There may not be so many connoisseurs yet, but they are in their thirties who want something new, and have decent money. By listening to them and making works that they want, you can sell things.


There are many young people around Mr. Inomata who lament that “products can not be sold”, but he said that if you clarify who the purchaser is and make something that suits your needs, you will not have trouble eating.

What works do you want to make from now on?

Black Bizen Teacup / Kurobizen Beer Cup


Finally, when I asked Mr. Inomata what he wanted to make in the future, he began to think that he could not continue to make works for many more years in this year.


When I think about it, rather than wanting to make something to sell, I came to want to spread the products that I wanted to make into the world. Kurobizen is another form of my own in a sense.


I was laughing that I might have become a potter only at this age.

The Life of Bizen Ware

“Bizen ware Nishikurabo Kiln Masaaki Inomata Ceramics Exhibition”

Mr. Inomata, who I interviewed this time, is holding an exhibition in Aoyama Square until April 13.


I’m usually in Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture, so if you want to talk to them, why not contact them? I’m sure you’ll be able to tell us a fun story.


What do you think?


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    Written by 工芸プレス


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