Arita Japan is where one of the most famous styles of "yakimono" (Japanese Pottery) called Aritayaki (arita yaki) originates. At the end of the 16 century, the political ruler of Japan (Hideyoshi Toyotami) invaded Korea. When his forces withdrew, the Nabeshima Gun (armed forces) brought back several Korean potters to Japan. Among these potters was Yi Sam-pyeong (Japanese name Kanagae Sanpei) who in 1616 discovered Kaolin clay on Izumiyama (Izumi Mountain) in Arita, and produced the first fine white porcelain in Japan. These Korean potters (which became naturalized citizens of Japan) along with the Japanese potters, started creating white porcelain with a unique Japanese beauty influenced by the products of Keitokuching (the Chinese national kiln at that time), and also by Indian and Persian patterns which were probably introduced to Japan through the Silk Road. This style of Japanese Pottery (Aritayaki Porcelain) is now among the most famous in the world.
The following is an excerpt (and rough translation) of an article published in the Travel Section of the Asahi Shinbun, a leading daily Japanese newspaper dated Tuesday September 4, 2007.
やきものに陶酔する (The Rapture of Japanese Pottery)
What is Japan's number one (Japanese Pottery)Yakimono? According to a recently conducted survey in which 17,221 Japanese responed, Aritayaki was by far the number one choice. The complete results are as listed here:
Yakimono/Prefecture Votes as Number One
1. 有田焼 Aritayaki / 佐賀県 Saga 8,111
2. 九谷焼 Kutaniyaki / 石川県 Ishikawa 5,626
3. 備前焼 Bizenyaki / 岡山県 Okayama 4,448
4. 荻焼き Ogiyaki / 山口県 Yamaguchi 4,361
5. 設楽焼 Shigarayaki / 滋賀県 Shiga 3,887
6. 京都清水焼 Kyotoshimizuyaki / 京都 Kyoto 2,867
7. 益子焼 Mashikoyaki / 栃木県 Tochigi 2,834
8. 美濃焼 Binouyaki / 岐阜県 Gifu 1,304
9. 瀬戸焼 Setoyaki / 愛知県 Aichi 1,267
10. 唐津焼 Karatsuyaki / 佐賀県 Saga 1,077
Aritayaki (Imari Ceramicware) of Saga Prefecture, where the famous city of Arita is located (well known as the birth place of the first Japanese porcelain), took first place in the quest of favorite Japanese pottery. Women in thier 60's responded that Japanese pottery was a daily necessity, and that it was the charm of the antique art that made it a pleasure to use. In the 40's age group, men responded that it is something that they would purchase on every trip, and women said it added beauty and an elegant atmosphere to the dining table when they served meals. For the person with a little experience and better knowledge of Japanese Pottery, women said that making pottery on a potter's wheel made them feel comfortable and relaxed. Men responded that after retirement they would persue making and collecting Japanese pottery as a hobby.
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