Ceramic Artist Profile

Wada Tōzan

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ceramic artist Wada Tozan's name in Japanese

In the old quarter of Amagasaki (Hyōgo Prefecture), you'll find Kotoura-gama, or Kotoura Kiln.  With a history stretching back more than a century to the Meiji Era and strong links to the world of tea ceremony, the kiln has a longstanding reputation as a maker of exquisite pottery and porcelain tea ceremony utensils.

Wada Tōzan is the third generation of Wada family ceramic artists.  His career began in 1972 when he started apprenticing under Wada Haruo, his father, at Kotoura-gama.  As the present-day master of the kiln, he has dutifully upheld its 105-year-long reputation.


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Wada Tōzan

1947

Born Wada Masāki, Kyoto

1972

Graduates from Osaka Technical College

1972

Starts apprenticeship at Kotoura Kiln under Wada Haruo (father), Kotoura Kiln

1982

Wins Japanese Traditional Craft Exhibition Award

2002

Establishes wood-fired noborigama climbing kiln - christened Ōizumi-gama, Yamanashi Prefecture

2006

Joint Exhibition with Wada Hiroaki, Daimaru Gallery, Osaka

2007

Wada Tōzan & Wada Hiroaki Joint Exhibition, Gallery Thuillier, Paris

2014

Kyoto Takashimaya Gallery Exhibition

2017

Tokyo Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Exhibition

   

Wada Tōzan's specializes mainly in Kyo-yaki (Kyoto ware) porcelain.  His tea ceremony bowls, vases and fresh water jars display a surprising level of beauty and sophistication with their intricate patterns and masterful brushwork.  Low-relief enameled images of seasonal blossoms, traditional Japanese patterns, and 24 carat gold detailing are the trademarks of his craft.

In addition to porcelain, the artist also works in the genre of pottery most associated with tea ceremony - Raku.  In fact, many of his tea ceremony bowls (chawan) have been endorsed by the current Urasenké Tea Master, Iemoto Hōnsai, who has given names to certain bowls which embody the Spirit of Tea.



Ōizumi-gama

The delicate precision of porcelain, however, isn't the only aspect of Wada Tōzan's artistry.  In 2002, his lifelong dream of building a wood-burning noborigama climbing kiln was fulfilled with the christening of Ōizumi-gama, or Ōizumi kiln, and this marked an exciting new era in the artist's work.  His exhibitions now resonate between the sophisticated ring of porcelain and the unrefined tenor of wood-fired pottery.

Wada excels in the exceedingly difficult haikaburi technique, where pots are placed directly inside the stoking area of the kiln and, during firing, become covered with ash.  Those fortunate pieces that manage to survive the grueling firing conditions are born from the kiln with a raw energy rarely found in other types of ceramics.


image inside kiln

Exhibitions

Wada Tōzan holds regular exhibitions across Japan at major department store galleries, including Takashimaya, Daimaru, and Mitsukoshi.

2014

exhibition name

Osaka Daimaru Gallery Exhibition

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2014

exhibition name

Osaka Takashimaya Gallery Exhibition

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2017

exhibition name

Tokyo Exhibition Catalogue

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2017

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Kōsei-in Temple Exhibition, Kyoto

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Potter's Insignia

Wada Tōzan's works are stamped on the footring with the kanji characters "Tōzan."  The same characters, along with the Kotoura-gama name, are written on the wooden presentation box.