Meeting Matsuzaki-san and Hamada-san

Yesterday, Adriaan and I went to Mashiko with Steve Tootell (Head of the Creative and Performance Department from the International School of Sacred Heart), who was driving up with 2 students to make a movie about the aftermath of the earthquake in Mashiko. Koichiro Isaka-san from the St.Ives Gallery in Tokyo joined us. The MOVIE:

At the moment, there is also the Toki Ichi, the yearly May Pottery Festival in Mashiko from about 400 potters. We were amazed to see luckily so many tourists visiting this festival. But they were mainly all Japanese; no blue-eyed people around.

First, we arrived at the Togei Arts Center from Furuki-san. He made beautiful renovations at the Minshuku which had fully survived the earthquake, but the kilns were all damaged. Euan’s kiln was already repaired so people can start firing, and next will be Kusakabe-san’s kiln. His anagama was completely destroyed.

We had some lunch and met with Euan Craig who was manning his booth. He will help me still with the tour and interviews on May the 19 and the 20st of the Dutch journalist/magazine writers Yna and Mels and consequently, an exhibition in the Netherlands. But after the earthquake it takes on a whole different meaning and we are looking for other possibilities to make people aware of what happened in Mashiko and how to help them survive and continue the legacy of this incredible potters community.

Then we met with Ken Matsuzaki-san. I introduced Adriaan and he explained his idea how to help Mashiko and bring them out into the world. Luckily, Koi-san and one of the students helped with the translation.
After that, we went to Hamada Tomoo, the grandson of Hamada Shoji, and explained the same idea. They are very supportive but have to get used to the ideas.

A big shard pile at Matsuzaki-san’s place.

In the meantime, we saw the destruction of the kilns. Some were already cleaned up, but there was so much damage. Hamada Tomoo showed us the devastation of the Reference Museum of Hamada Shoji. Some potters were cleaning the bricks of the broken-down Noborigamas. So, much to do and the rebuilding of the treasure houses. The whole walls shifted. And so many of Hamada’s pots broken. But they had that all cleaned up and refreshed with other works from Hamada Shoji and Tomoo-san also had repaired some important plates from the collections.

Tomoo-san’s damaged salt kiln is already all cleaned up. Ready to build a new one.

Today, we met Fujiwara-san, Baba Yuchiko-san, the mayor Ohtsuka-san, and of course, Tsukamoto-san from the Toko Gallery and some other friends. So, we had quite a lovely day. We returned with the bus to Utsunomiya. We caught at 3:15pm the 2pm bus! Traffic was completely blocked in Mashiko.  It was that busy. The weather became cloudy and everybody of course started to leave at the same time. We got of the train in Tokyo to stay with my friend Lara and her wonderful family.

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