Loyalty Attracts the World—Kiyomizyuyaki of Kyoto.
Words by Natsumi Yokoyama
-Kiyomizuyaki Maximizing "Kyoto"-
Kiyomizuyaki crafted around Higashiyama (mountains located on the east side in Kyoto) has about 400 years history.
Design and underglaze painting is the most characteristic in Kiyomizuyaki.
The reason is two-folded.
The first is because soil of ingredient of Kiyomizuyaki is one outside of Kyoto, which made craftsmen difficult to differentiate
Kiyomizuyaki from other pottery in terms of ingredient.
The second reason is its old capital city history and spread of the tea drinking culture, which led craftsmen to generate diversified
design and underglaze painting.
Later, Gojozaka in Kyoto became the well-known production area of Kiyomizuyaki.
Tousengama, the Kiyomizuyaki production studio where we conductsed the interview this time is also located in Gojozaka.
-Raised in the Pottery World-
The owner of Tousengama, Tetsuya Taniguchi started his career as a Kiyomizuyaki craftsman as soon as he graduated his university.
It is because he was inspired by Kiyomizuyaki craftsmen who were the closest to Tetsuya, his father and grandfather.
His family business has been run since his grandfather set Noborigama, a kiln built in several connected sections on a hillside in Muko City, Kyoto.
He had already decided to succeed his father's business in his early age.
-Loyalty to Craftsmanship-
Tetsuya values the manufacturing department better than any other department in producing Kiyomizuyaki while his father and grandfather did the sales one.
He often experiences difficulties when manufacturing because it is really hard to express what he images.
However, he thinks that it is a part of success.
"I feel really happy when I share pleasures; that is, my customers tell me that they really like my works.
This is why I value the manufacturing department," Tetsuya said.
-Real Art on Kiyomizuyaki of Tousengama-
The most remarkable technique in production of Kiyomizuyaki is underglaze painting.
That enables craftsman to make Kiyomizuyaki look gentler and warmer; as a result, we can feel the great efforts of craftsman.
The pottery painters in Tousengama are not those who sticked to learning pottery painting but those who dream to be artists of a Japanese-style painting or an oil painting.
Their paintings seem to generate deep impressions because they express their art as much as they like.
However, the big difference between their paintings and what customers images sometimes exists.
"That is the time I make the great use of my experience. Adjusting the difference between them is one of my job. That is how I make Kiyomizuyaki get close to what customers want," Tetsuya said.
-Taking the Lead and the Power of the Young-
We asked Tetsuya what is his ideal Kiyomizuyaki.
He answered "That is the one which leads the overall industry like before and now in terms of everything such as techniques of design and painting"
To achieve this matter, the young craftsman are needed more.
"Our industry should arrange something such as an income system so that we can expect more young craftsmen," he considers.
-"It's all about my customers whether they are abroad or not"-
Now, Kiyomizuyaki of Tousengama draws a lot of attentions in the world.
We also asked Tetsuya what you think about your foreign customers but he told us that he has hardly cared about where his costumers are whether they are abroad or not.
He said "I never distinguish my customer because the fact remains that all of them like my works.
I am going not to change the motto "I make Kiyomizuyaki with my inspiration for all of my customers" now and forever."
What he said sounds the secret that Tetsuya's Kiyomizuyaki is beloved by all.