Studio visit to Yoshimura Rakunyu, Kyoto Raku ware master.
One of our latest studio visits was Yoshimura Rakunyu, one of a very few pottery masters in Japan that make raku-yaki, or Raku ware earthenware．
Raku ware technique was created in the 16th century on request of Sen no Rikyu, the most famous tea master of all times, who refined the style of Japanese tea ceremony based on wabi-sabi aesthetics. Raku ware was exactly what he was looking for: ceramics shaped entirely by hand instead of using a wheel, each piece being unique and revealing the individuality of its maker.
Yoshimura Rakunyu is a 3rd-generation master craftsman. His grandfather has been engaged in the production of grindstones and started to make raku-yaki as a hobby before getting serious in response to the rising demand after the WWII. While traditionally Raku ware technique was used uniquely for creating tea bowls for the tea ceremony, Yoshimura-san continues the work of his father who widened its usage to various tea utensils, and even experiments by participating in design collaborations and by accepting the commission for creating tiles for interior decoration in one of Kyoto luxury hotels.
If you’re curious about the Raku ware technique and wish to get your hands dirty, Yoshimura Rakunyu offers several ceramics classes: sake cup making experience, tea bowl making experience and a 1-day course for those who have the luxury of time and look for an immersive experience at a gentle pace. Here at the Kyoto Artisans Concierge, we don’t know of any other possibilities to have such a close look at the exclusive world of Raku ware.
If you plan to visit Yoshimura Rakunyu at his studio and try your hand at the Raku ware technique, book your experience here: https://www.kyotoartisans.jp/en/contact-2
Words & images by Anastasiya Bulkavets (ArigatoCreative.co)