KOGEI STANDARD Japanese Crafts Online Media

KOGEI & Me Craftspeople and Their Stories

Yumiko Tanaka / Yasuko Kamochi

Fukuju Touen
BORN
1960 / 1957
ORIGIN
Saga Prefecture
ROLE
Painting Artisan
COMPANY
Fukuju Touen

The future of the kiln lies in the gentle smile.

Ms. Kamochi and Ms. Tanaka are in charge of “etsuke” (decorative painting) at Fukujugama in Arita, Saga Prefecture. Even in Arita, which is the famed historical area of porcelain, there are few artisans specializing in etsuke at the present time. Ms. Kamochi joined Fukujugama because her sister worked there too. At that time, Arita ware was in high demand. Etsuke is a finely divided work where each painter paints a specific portion. By doing the same work over and over again, she was able to gradually improve on her etsuke techniques. “Precise brush strokes are important for etsuke but I prefer to draw vigorously than to paint within a square”, said Ms. Tanaka who had worked for a city office prior to joining Fukujugama. As she learns from her seniors, she remembered about the orderly appearance of “sometsuke (painting with blue pigment)” and overglaze painting. Etsuke is a persistent work, but the voice from customers saying “I like this vessel” gives her a sense of satisfaction. “This job can even be done by amateurs like us, so we think anyone can do it.”, the gentle smile of the two ladies shone through even as they spoke, seemingly symbolizing the softness of etsuke which Fukujugama is good at.

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