Kanjiro Kawai



Kawai Kanjiro 1890 - 1966

Japanilainen keraamikko Kanjiro Kawai oli puuseppien sukua. Kirvesmiesmestari veli rakensi keramiikkataiteilijan itsensä suunnitteleman valtavan talonpoikaismallisen talon Kioton kaupunkiin. Nykyisin kotimuseona toimivan talon takapihalla on valtava portaittain nouseva polttouuni (noborigama).

Kanjiro Kawai oli lasituksen, värisävyjen ja yllättävien muotojen mestari. Hän oli myös monitaituri: esseisti, taidemaalari, kalligrafian taitaja, puunveistäjä ja metallitöiden tekijä. Kawain koti huokuu luovuutta ja esteettistä herkkyyttä. Siellä kohtaavat rintarinnan itse suunnitellut esineet ja kerätyt kansantaiteen luomukset. Monissa Kawain rakentamissa huonekaluissa näkee globaaleja vaikutteita, kuten pohjoismaisessa pirtinpöydässä.  




Kanjiro Kawai

Ceramic artist Kanjiro Kawai was born (1890 – 1966) in Yasugi City, Shimane Prefecture, to a family that had come from a long line of carpenters. In 1914 Kawai graduated from the Ceramic Department of the Tokyo Higher Technical School. In 1920 he married Mikami Yasu and purchased a house in Gojozaka, a neighborhood known for potters in Kyoto. A typhoon destroyed the original home in 1934. The present structure was completed in 1937 with the help of his brother Zenzaemon, a master carpenter, and a team of carpenters from his hometown of Yasuki. Kawai lived the rest of his life in this house.  






Kawai began to produce pottery using his own kiln, named Shokeiyo, and his pieces in the manner of those by ancient Chinese artists received high acclaim. In his middle years he produced a number of works closely related to daily life. He gave full play to his talent also through paintings and calligraphy, wood carving, ceramic sculpture, metalworking, and essays.

Kawai was a master of glazes, and performed 10,000 experiments on glazes while a student at the Tokyo Technical College and Kyoto Municipal Institute of Ceramics. Red copper glazes (shinsha or yuriko) were one of his trademark colours. He also used a deep brown iron glaze (tetsu-yu) and a brilliant cobalt blue glaze (gosu).

Kawai is known for producing work in different styles, from refined, simple shapes to pieces inspired by Chinese temmoku, to work utilizing slip-trailed decoration (tsutsugaki) to evoke the energy of modern abstract art. His pots come in many asymmetrical shapes and show expressionistic techniques.

Kawai was a co-founder of the mingei crafts movement in the 1920s. The movement wanted to bring the human touch back to everyday objects and to point away from mass-produced products and toward the work of craftsmen that spoke to the spiritual and practical needs of everyday life.  





House and kiln

Kawai designed his home based on the simple architectural style of Korean and Japanese farm houses. The dark, highly polished wood interior is offset by white plaster walls. Throughout the house there are ceramic works, wooden sculpture, furniture and utensils created by Kawai, as well as pieces from his collection of folk crafts. In the studio there is an assortment of tools and equipment and two potter's wheels.

Behind the house there is a huge climbing kiln, noborigama. The firing lasted 48 hours and consumed over 2,000 bundles of firewood. The interior temperature reached 1350 Celsius.

Kawai's house and workshop have been open to the public since 1973. Staff members are all part of the Kawai family.




569 Kanei-cho, Gojozaka
Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-City  
Kyoto 605-0875
TEL: 075-561-3585
Open: 10:00 - 17:00
Closed: Monday, Summer Holidays, New Year's Holiday


Copyright (C) : Kari Gröhn All rights reserved.