Hallo! Hannaです。

Two weeks ago I got the opportunity to do an one-day internship at one of Arita`s most traditional kilns, “Gen-emon kiln”. It was very interesting for me to not only see how the different pieces of porcelain were carefully being made one by one (starting from forming it on the potter’s wheel, up to painting it), but to also be able to experience it at first hand.



Ko-Imari Arita porcelain at the Gen-emon museum – 源右衛門窯の資料館での古伊万里有田焼
I was first assigned to examine the porcelain after the first firing (biscuit firing) to make sure that there are no cracks in it, and to clean it from dust in order to prepare it for the underglaze painting.


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After that I helped with the so-called仕上げ作業, where, after glazing, the porcelain is being prepared for the second firing (glost firing) and one has to check and carefully scratch out the uneven spots. It was much more difficult than I thought!



Next I got to wrap the finished porcelain ware in order to send it to various department stores in Japan. At the end I was guided through the kiln`s own little museum (“Ko-Imari museum”) to learn about its history.



What a day! I am really thankful for having been given this rare opportunity and I would like to say a big “Thank you!” to my nice “co-workers” (well, at least for a day!), who patiently showed me the working process.



About Gen-emon:

Gen-emon kiln is making porcelain since more than 260 years and can be mentioned in the same breath with other famous kilns in Arita like for example Imaemon or Koransha. What makes Gen-emon special is that it tries to preserve the traditional making techniques and the porcelain style of “Ko-Imari” (Old Imari) porcelain. Everything, starting from the throwing of porcelain to its painting, glazing and firing is being handmade.

In the 20th century, Genemon kiln started making tableware mostly in order to sell it to restaurants and traditional Ryokan in Japan, but nowadays they are more and more producing household tableware for everyday use, too.

For the porcelain ware either just underglaze blue or a very colorful pattern is used that very much resembles the traditional “Ko-Imari” style of Arita porcelain from earlier times. As Gen-emon kiln is making high quality handcrafted tableware, they tend to be rather pricey, starting from 2100 Yen for a small plate, and up to 50.000 Yen for a covered porcelain container.





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Favorite Gen-emon porcelain ware from their online shop:



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