Monday, December 15, 2014



Bibi China has two main marks that I am aware of. 

                                                                 Hand Painted


                                                              MADE IN JAPAN

The Nippon Mark would date sometime between 1891-1921. 
The Made in Japan Mark would be later.
Several sites indicate that BiBi ware was exported to Lebanon for sale in the Middle East through 1947. I have not verified this. 


Friday, December 5, 2014

SHIKAOI YAKI (鹿追焼)-Ceramics of Hokkaido

When I first came upon this three piece sake set my initial thought was "Oh! Bizen". I was surprised when I turned the tokkuri over to find another "Yaki" written there. After some research I discovered that it was made in Hokkaido. Hokkaido is not especially known for its ceramics but it seems that there is an up and coming ceramics scene up north. 
Modern Japanese Ceramics, Pathways of Innovation & Tradition by Anneliese Crueger gives a brief history of ceramics in Hokkaido. It appears that kilns blossomed during the 1960's -1980's. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014



BYOBU (screens) 


Aji no Moto can @1950's

Just found this today at a charity shop for $6. It is  a Japanese tetsubin by Nanbutetsu Iwachu.
I am not sure of the age but it is not anywhere near new! It is 20cm tall and 18cm wide. 

Old  Japanese pillows. 

Bronze ware vase by Zuiho


YAKUMO LACQUER WARE-Shimane Prefecture

This is a favorite of mine. This was made this several years ago. Yakumo lacquer ware takes a long time to make. At first the colors are rather dark. Mr. Yamane, the artisan, told us to buy a piece that was newer so we could watch the colors brighten over time. It gets brighter every year!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

AWARA YAKI (あわら焼 or芦原焼 )-Ceramics of Fukui Prefecture

 Awara yaki is made in Awara city. It originated in the Taisho period and has a characteristic crimson glaze. This style of pottery falls under the Echizen umbrella.

                                                    Sake cup with Awara (あわら) MARK

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SEIJI KAISHA-Antique Porcelain of Arita 1879~1897

This company was short lived, but was established by former Koransha associates Fukami, Fukagawa, Tezuka, and Tsuji.  See Imari, Satsuma and Other Japanese Export Ceramics by Nancy N. Schiffer (1997). Also:


*According to, this company continued until about 1897. I will check out for more information on this company.

"Seiji Kaisha (1879 - 1890)

In 1879, Fukaumi Suminosuke, Tezuka Kinosuke, and Tsuji Katsuzo left the Koransha Company where they were partners with Eizaemon Fukagawa, and joined Tokyo potter Kawahara Chujiro to start the Seiji Kaisha Company (Company of Pure Water). Like the Koransha Company, the Seiji Kaisha Company received commissions to provide porcelain for Imperial court and the Ministry of the imperial Household.

For nearly ten years Seiji Kaisha’s excellent craftsman created porcelain wares that, with the exception of Koransha and Fukagawa, had no serious competitors anywhere. In addition to other accomplishments, a gold medal was awarded to the Seiji Kaisha for a piece that was exhibited in Amsterdam in 1883.

Following the deaths of Kawahara and Tezuka in 1888 and 1889, and the inability to find people who could operate the new machines needed to modernize their production methods, the Seiji Kaisha Company closed in 1890.

This information can be found in Gisela Jahn's book, Meiji Ceramics."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Increasing my Japanese Ceramics Library

There are plenty of books on Japanese ceramics in Japan. One advantage of my trips to Japan is that I can check out the used book stores for books at reasonable prices.

There are many books on Japanese ceramics, most are out of print. I keep my eye out for them at second hand shops. I also have found some on-line at Amazon.

I found an old book store last week that had some great additions to my library. 

Some Christmas gifts add to my library:

Thursday, September 25, 2014


 For those interested in Makuzu Ware. There is a great museum in Yokohama that features Makuzu ware and the works of Miyagawa Kozan.  Makuzu ware originated in Kyoto, but in 1869 two Yokohama merchants established a kiln for export wares. Miyakawa Kozan and his sons established a kiln in Minami Otamachi. (See Gorham p.150). I have seen the name written in English as Miyagawa and Miyakawa, but it is 宮川 in Japanese.

Saturday, September 13, 2014



From what I can gather so far, Nippon Yokohama Imura china is from the late Meiji period, circa 1890 and may have extended through at least the early Taisho (1912-1926).

Varied UK and US sites date Nippon Yokohama Imura Zo anywhere from 1890-1920's. The Japanese sites I have found state this porcelain as mainly Meiji era (1868-1912) but some seems to have been produced in the Taisho period (1912-1926) as well. 

See links:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


From 1921-1941, wares from Japan exported to the United States had to be marked "Japan" or "Made in Japan".  During World War II most ceramics factories (for exports) ceased,  except Noritake (see Japanese Ceramics of the Last 100 Years, by Irene Stitt pg 167). After the war exports were labled "Made in Occupied Japan". After 1952 exports were usually marked "Made  in Japan" or just "Japan". 

Made in Gifu Japan.

Lustre ware vase with the triple leaf mark is an unknown. Many companies have closed and many records were lost. Many of these companies were in the Seto-Mino area. See Made in Japan Ceramics III by Carole Bess White mark #66.
Update: I learned from a Japanese web site on wares made during WWII, for domestic use with this mark. These were designated as being from Gifu Prefecture. 



This is a relatively common shape for a lemon server but have not found an identical one. IMO, this is probably from between the mid 1920's to the mid 1930's.

I woüld place these in the Taisho period circa 1920's. The saucer size correlates with the sizes of domestic Japanese small plates made during that period.  They were probably made using the same molds as the backs look quite similar. The saucer is 11cm in diameter and the small plate is 13cm. 


This is a miniature tea cup with just a Japan mark. 

            Unknown maker

Unknown mark see Collector's Guide for Made in Japan Ceramics Book IV by Carole Bess White.
Mark #34

      Unknown maker, not found on any of the MIJ books I have.

This tea pot has a round mark with 16 petal chrysanthemum with a T at the center. Hand painted, Made in Japan.


IWATA* Made in Japan

Made in Japan transfer ware. Mountain and branch Mark. Attributed to Iwata. See Made In Japan Ceramics III by Carole Bess White mark #68.


TAKITO "TT" Made in Japan

According to this is the Takito Co. mark. The company was on business from 1880-1948. The products sold from 1891-1921 were marked with Nippon. This mark would be between 1922 and 1941. See white's book mark #56


See White's book mark #43

See White MIJ Ceramics book IV mark #57 United China & Gift Co. (Formerly United China & Glass). 

Valmont China with the United China & Gift co. Logo in the center.


Sterling China Japan

Tashiro Shoten

See White's Book IV marks 21,21a, 21b 

GOLD CASTLE Made in Japan

Gold Castle is a Tashiro Shoten Mark

See White's book mark #44

Trico China is a Tashiro Shoten Mark (see White'book mark #11)


This is a new one to me "Kongo China"

   The red sun mark with RS in the center. Made in Japan. Shimizu Ryonosuke Shoten. 

Some MIJ were made for Shops in the USA

        C. 1920's       Seiji &co. Pre WWII. Closed 1962

Moriyama Morimachi

                                        Moriyama Morimachi ⬆️

Maruhon ware
Gift Craft, of Toronto) Mid 20th Century

Unknown mark

Unknown mark

Hand Painted Nippon Made in Japan with 二 in a diamond shape.

Made in Nagoya Japan The kanji for Ishi (stone) in a circle. 

Seto Novelty by Maruyama Toki 丸山陶器


Nippon Made in Japan mark circa early 1920's

NS Made in Japan



NKT with two birds facing each other with Made in Japan, is the mark of what is currently the NIKKO CO. This company produced from 1912.

CHubu China

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