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Kenta Nakazato Ceramic Exhibition

A collection of colorful pieces with different purposes and appearances

From April 20 to 25, 2024 an exhibition of ceramic artist Kenta Nakazato’s works was held at Kakiden Gallery in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

This marked the second time for Kenta to hold a solo exhibition at this gallery, following his debut solo show there in April the previous year. That 2023 event was also his first solo exhibition in Tokyo, and since then he has steadily expanded his presence through events at various galleries and exhibitions.

Born in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, Kenta is the third generation of the Ryutagama kiln family, which was established by his grandfather Takashi and his father Taki, both Karatsu ware potters; he studied under his father, Taki. This exhibition featured a wide variety of works, including nested oval bowls, tea bowls, water jars, flower vases, jars, tokkuri (Japanese sake server), guinomi (Japanese sake cups), yunomi (Japanese teacups), and mug cups.

Looking over the spacious gallery, the flower vases particularly stood out. This was likely because the delicate texture of the clay and the complex hues enhanced the vitality of the plants, making them appear even more captivating. The simple and relaxed personality of the vessels gracefully complemented the flowers, allowing them to blend seamlessly into any setting.

Kenta’s ceramics retain a rustic and profound quality while displaying beautiful curves, balanced proportions, and a fresh, lively feel. His free and innovative sensibility may be attributed to the fact that he graduated from the Bunka Fashion College, where he enrolled in the tailored suit production program during his student days.

He emphasizes the fundamentals of craftsmanship, such as the habit of thinking about various factors and the importance of constantly honing one’s skills, which are common to both fashion and ceramics. He also expresses a fondness for African antiques and furniture designed by Poul Kjaerholm, Hans J. Wegner, Harry Bertoia, and others. The fact that his works feel at home in any place, whether Japanese or Western, may be attributed to his flexibility and broad perspective.

Karatsu ware, which flourished with the help of potters from the Korean Peninsula, is considered the first ceramic in Japan to be decorated with pigments. It has a history of accepting change and embracing challenges. When asked about the charm of Karatsu ware, Kenta mentioned the sense of openness and the playful yet dynamic aspects that pervade the style. Though ceramic making involves various stages such as wheel throwing, painting, and glazing, each step is approached as a one-shot deal, with minimal intervention required.

Kenta believes the beauty of pottery lies in its versatility — it can be used as tableware for serving food or paired with favorite furniture and artworks to create a living space that brings joy. He expressed his happiness at the idea of his work being a constant presence in people’s lives. One of the visitors who visited last year’s exhibition said, “No matter what dishes you put in them, they always look delicious. It gives me such a feeling of luxury, I came back to buy more.”

When asked about his plans for the future, Kenta smiled and said, “I want to gradually expand my activities and continue creating things with even greater care and quality.” We look forward to his future endeavors.

Written by Akiko Nakano

The Oval Bowls come in various sizes — large, medium, and small — allowing them to be used separately or stacked together, adding charm to any setting and making it a joy to think about how to use them in daily life



Editorial Team

KOGEI STANDARD is a cultural online media introducing Japanese crafts to the world which include ceramics, lacquerware, textiles, woodworking, glass and many more.