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Article

Mitsuhiko Hasebe

(b Kanagawa, Dec 9, 1894; d Tochigi, Jan 5, 1978).

Japanese potter and museum official. In 1916 he graduated from the department of ceramics at the Tokyo Technical College. He then entered the Kyoto Municipal Institute of Ceramics, where he worked with Kanjirō Kawai, who was his senior there. In 1920 he went to England with Bernard Leach, who had been staying in Japan, and together they set up the Leach Pottery studio in St Ives, Cornwall. Hamada worked there until 1924, when he returned to Japan. He settled in Mashiko in Tochigi Prefecture, where he continued to produce ceramics using reddish brown iron glaze and black-and-white devitrified glazes and clay from the surrounding region. He absorbed traditional technical methods and emulated the organic beauty of various forms of Korean ceramics and of the folk crafts of Japan, and in particular Okinawa. In 1926 with Muneyoshi Yanagi and others he promoted the Mingei (‘folk crafts’) movement. In his later years he established a simple, bold style working with such techniques as salt glazing (e.g. ...

Article

Kathy Niblett

(Howell)

(b Hong Kong, Jan 5, 1887; d St Ives, Cornwall, May 6, 1979).

English potter and writer. Until he was ten years old he lived in the Far East, which had a most powerful influence on his life and work. In 1903–4 he studied drawing with Henry Tonks at the Slade School of Art, London. He kept a death-bed promise to his father to train to work in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, but left after nine months and in 1908 he attended the London School of Art to learn etching with Frank Brangwyn. In 1909 he returned to Japan to teach etching and in 1911 was ‘seized with the desire’ to work in clay after attending a ‘raku yaki’ tea party, where he shared the instantaneous joy of Raku family pottery. He found a pottery teacher, Shigekichi Urano (1881–1923), who had become Kenzan VI c. 1900 (see Ogata family §(2)). After teaching him to pot, Kenzan built a kiln for Leach in ...

Article

Karen M. Gerhart

[Ōtagaki Nobu]

(b Kyoto, 1791; d Kyoto, 1875).

Japanese poet, calligrapher, potter and painter. Shortly after her birth, she was adopted by Ōtagaki Mitsuhisa who worked at Chion’in, an important Jōdo (Pure Land) sect temple in Kyoto. In 1798 she was sent to serve at Kameoka Castle in Tanba, where she studied poetry, calligraphy and martial arts. She returned to Kyoto in 1807 and was married to a young samurai named Mochihisa. They had three children, all of whom died shortly after birth; in 1815 Mochihisa also died. In 1819 Nobu remarried, but her second husband died in 1823. After enduring the tragic loss of two husbands and all her children, Nobu, only 33 years old, cut her hair off and became a nun, at which time she adopted the name Rengetsu (‘lotus moon’). She lived with her stepfather, who had also taken vows, near Chion’in. After his death in 1832 Rengetsu began to make pottery, which she then inscribed with her own ...