The history of Japanese porcelain is a history of starting with gosu underglaze.
Around 1600, Korean potters were brought to Japan by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea.
Among them, Kanegae Sanbei and Hyakubasen, an ancestor of the Fukami family, were active as potter leaders in Arita Town.
In the 1610s, natural gosu underglaze was imported from China, and these Arita potters began to use gosu underglaze to produce Chinese-style blue and white porcelain.
This was the beginning of Arita porcelain, which has a history of over 400 years, and the beginning of the history of Japanese porcelain.
Around 1650, Arita porcelain was exported to all over the world.
This quickly spread the name of Arita porcelain (Imari porcelain) throughout the world, and it was sought after by royalty and aristocrats all over the world.
Around 1875, with the advice of the German chemist Wagener
Suminosuke Fukaumi and the Takeji brothers invented a method for producing chemically synthesized gosu underglaze using cobalt .
This achivement made the remarkable reduction in the cost of gosu underglaze and the significant improvement in coloration. Then it growed luster of Arita porcelain’s achievement .
However, the tradition of gosu underglaze and the Arita porcelain is a candle flickering in the wind.
Sales of Arita porcelain have disappeared by 16 billion yen (65%), from a peak of about 24.9 billion yen in 1991 to about 8.9 billion yen in 2018.
And under the Covid-virus continuing from 2020, the Arita porcelain industry is devastated even more severely.
As a result, the volume of gosu underglaze shipments has plummeted, making it difficult to continue manufacturing.
If nothing is done, the more than 400 years of tradition of Arita porcelain porcelain and gosu underglaze, which has attracted the world’s admiration as a jewel, will be lost.
We propose a new way of expressing the gosu underglaze.
Therefore, we try to make the charm of gosu underglaze known to a wider audience.
We launched a series of collaboration with different materials instead of using it only for pottery.
“Gosu” × _____ (Gosu kakeru)
This series will help people to rediscover the beauty and value of Arita porcelain, which has been developed together with gosu underglaze, and will be an opportunity for the revival of Arita porcelain.