【Interview】Manji Inoue, designated a Living National Treasure for Arita ware2015.07.31


This year of 2016, it is a very special year for Arita ware, one of the famous potteries in Japan.

It has a long history since 1616 which is the start of Japanese pottery. It has been 400 years since its initiation. Saga prefecture, where Arita ware is originated, has been dispatching its information and conducting many approaches to disseminate the Arita ware against the world. In September , 2014, Arita wares had been exhibited at Maison & Objet Craft, held in Paris. In addition, it held the exhibition in Milan in April, 2015.

We are able to interview with Mr. Manji Inoue, who is designated a Living National Treasure for Arita ware. He has collaborated with Soun Takeda, a calligrapher in Japan in 2015 as an event.

He is 86 years old who is inspired with Arita-yaki, showed his spirit for Arita ware.

What is Arita ware?


It is the generic name for the potteries which are made in Arita cho in Saga prefecture. Mr. Manji Inoue has been attracted by the Arita ware which is its simplicity and crystallinity but hard  and indestructible potteries. In 1952, he was very impressed with the potteries by Chuemon Okukawa, the first, the potter, so he decided to be descendant and learned techniques of white porcelains. After that, he was invited to be an guest professor by The Pennsylvania State University to teach Arita ware for 5 months.

He looks back at that time and says “To learn the new senses of the U.S.A. in addition to the basic knowledge of Japanese traditional beauties, I could assimilate the new sense without being fettered by tradition.”

He has been creating Arita ware for a long time, but he still faces some unexpected barriers every day even though he uses a pottery wheel without thinking anything  when creating. Everyday, it is mind conditioned by discipline, so he added.

20 years passed since designated a Living National Treasure for Arita ware


In 1995, he was designated a Living National Treasure for Arita ware and received a Medal with Purple Ribbon, for those who do the great work for the public or even Japan in the certain areas, by the government in 1997. He still keeps making Arita wares with his high motivation and energy. He states “daily efforts and diligence will create the new ideas.”

He believes that the white porcelains, which have the perfect forms and beauty, are simple so that they do not need any decorations. “Daily efforts and diligence with skillful techniques can create high integrity,” he says.

His son and grand son are also potters of Arita ware who play important roles in this field. He sends hearty cheers to them by saying, “they need to inherit techniques characteristics of Arita ware from its predecessors. To do that, they need to learn the basic skills at first and then create the new things with free thinking.”

He also has more than 650 students who absolutely worship him in worldwide. He advises them that daily efforts and diligence to face a pottery wheel is very important for learning basic skills because they can not create anything even though they have great senses.

We are so impressed by his passion for Arita ware.


Manji Inoue, the facebook

Umakato- a potter in Saga prefecture

All about Arita ware

2015/02/25 posted airticle in Soun Takeda, a Japanese caligrapher (the official blog)

ARITA 400 project(English page)







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