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Creating "tradition" means building something new while cherishing the old.

Zenemon Sakakura says.

He has rekindled the kiln fire that once ceased to exist in his grandfather's generation and continues to preserve the tradition of Hagiyaki pottery that has been handed down since the Edo period, while mixing it with avant-garde sensibilities.

It is said that "tradition" is something that lives and flows. To imitate old techniques and pass on the one as the other, that is just handing down. In order to create something that will last for 100 years, we must do what is appropriate for the current era.

His works are so dynamic and modern that one might wonder if they are traditional Hagiyaki.

Hagiyaki is a traditional craft of Yamaguchi Prefecture characterized by its simple and soft texture with almost no decoration. It has been loved by tea masters since ancient times. Its charm lies in the deep flavor that emerges the more it is used.

Hagiyaki bowl

As Hagiyaki is used, small cracks appear on the surface, and tea and sake permeate the cracks, changing the color of the ware. This gradual increase in flavor with the passage of time is reminiscent of "wabi-sabi," the spirit of the tea ceremony, and is very atmospheric.

He continues to surprise those around him with his innovative ideas.

Flower vase with a crab

One of his works, a ceramic fish, is very realistic and far removed from the rustic image of Hagiyaki.

ceramic fish "black porgy"

At first, it looked like a burnt fish that had been overcooked.

He said with a laugh and answering to how he came up with the idea for this kind of work,

I liked fish. Nagato is near the sea and fish is delicious. I wanted to preserve the form of the fish in three-dimensional form, just like fish prints are preserved as a keepsake.

He creates what he genuinely likes. In addition to his artistic creations, he also makes cups and other tableware that fit easily into our daily lives. The glaze is made of red shale, the original stone of the Akama inkstone, a traditional handicraft of Yamaguchi Prefecture, to reproduce the beautiful jet-black color and texture of the inkstone.

Drinking water, coffee, or alcohol, even the familiar and natural act of "drinking" which we do many times in a day, feels very important and lovely when done with this kind of thoughtful Hagiyaki. He says,

I would like to create many variations in pursuit of how to express myself with the raw materials available today. I would like to preserve even one of these techniques for the next 100 years. If a "tradition" survives for 100 years, it will become a “legend".

We would like to cherish and use it for our children's and grandchildren's generations, looking at the penetration of the cup as time goes by.   

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