In 1598 Yoshihiro Shimazu crossed from Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four main islands, to Korea where he kidnapped over 50 potters and brought them to Japan. They settled in Satsuma and began a tradition of pottery that remains unbroken. This vase is typical of the white glaze of early Satsuma pottery. Later they added black in the Meiji period. There are many other centers of pottery in Japan, many with their own characteristic colors, and all produce some of the best pottery in the world.

Master potters who make bowls for the tea ceremony deliberately introduce an imperfection during the process so that each bowl is truly unique and thus brings honor to the host who gives the bowl to his or her guest.

In the beautiful bowl below, from Kanazawa in Northern Japan, the imperfection may be the indentations around the rim, or the slightly asymmetrical sides.


The Japanese Pottery Center covers all the major pottery centers in Japan.