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Arita  

Hiroko Nishida

Region in Japan, now part of Saga Prefecture, and the name of a type of porcelain first produced there during the early Edo period (1600–1868). The ware was originally known as Imari yaki (‘Imari ware’) because it was shipped from the port of Imari (Saga Prefect.). During the Meiji period (1868–1912) porcelain was produced throughout the country. The need to distinguish it from other porcelain wares led to the use of the name Arita (Arita yaki). As a result, the names Imari and Arita wares were used interchangeably. In the West, Arita porcelain was known by several names, including Imari, Amari, Old Japan and Kakiemon (see Japan, §IX, 3, (iii)).

Porcelain production is said to have begun in Japan in 1616, when the Korean ceramicist Ri Sanpei [Jap. Kanagae Sanbei] (1579–1655), who had been brought to Japan after Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasions of Korea (...