Ceramic Artist Profile

Kawai Akiteru

ceramic artist Kawai Akiteru's name in Japanese

In the late 1920's in Japan, a small group of artists started the mingei, or "folk craft" movement.  It was a reaction to what they saw as the increasing threat of industrialization upon traditional, handmade crafts.  For them, modern society's eye for beauty in simple utensils for daily life was becoming blinded by low cost and standardization.

So a group of potters, including Bernard Leach, Hamada Shōji, and Kawai Kanjirō, sought to keep the craftsman spirit alive by producing everyday objects which satisfied the practical as well as the spiritual needs of life.  The works they made were functional, expressive, yet unassuming.  As a matter of principal, mingei wares were hardly ever signed.

Kawai Kanjirō (1890-1966) is considered one of the principal figures within the mingei movement.  With equal amounts of engineering skill and artistic sensibility, Kawai created works of extraordinary creativity and rustic charm.  He had a penchant for combining modern methods of manufacture with traditional Japanese design, pioneering a technique called doro-hakémé, or "mud slip brushing."

Thanks to the contribution of the mingei movement, a great number of Japanese handcrafts, including baskets, furniture and cast iron ware, were preserved and are still thriving today.  In the realm of ceramics, Kawai Kanjirō's legacy extends far and wide, and a small handful of his descendants continue producing pottery to this day.

Among them is his great-grandnephew, Kawai Akiteru.

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Kawai Akiteru


Born as the first son of ceramic artist Kawai Tōru, Kyoto


Graduates from the Kyoto Municipal Institute of Ceramics


Graduates from the Kyoto Municipal Institute of Ceramics - advanced degree in industrial ceramic research.


Begins appreticeship under his father


Group Exhibition, Daimaru Dept. Store Gallery, Osaka


Group Exhibition, Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Dept. Store Gallery, Tokyo
Group Exhibition, Mitsukoshi Dept. Store Gallery, Ginza


Group Exhibition, JR Isetan Dept. Store Gallery, Kyoto


Kawai Akiteru is the newest member to the family of artists related to the legendary master.  Raised in a household steeped in the mingei aesthetic and a mere stone's throw away from Kawai Kanjrō's house (now a memorial museum), Kawai picked up the family trade quite naturally.  In 2000, he began apprenticing under his father, Kawai Tōru, learning how to master forming, glazing, and the behemoth noborigama kiln that brings their work to life.

Kawai displays a talent for adopting certain elements from the works of his predecessors and refining them into a style which is less structured and more elegant.  Unlike the faceted mentori pieces of his father, the younger Kawai tends toward fluid decoration, low-relief curls, and undulating forms in his rendition of mingei.


Kawai Akiteru holds group exhibitions at major department store galleries across Japan, most recently at Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, Tokyo.


exhibition image

Osaka Daimaru Group Exhibition

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Potter's Insignia

Kawai Akiteru's works are signed around the footring with the letter A - the first in his given name.  The wooden presentation box holds his full name and stamp.