10 Famous Japanese ceramic artists you should know


With so many famous Japanese ceramic artists to chose from it’s an almost impossible task to chose such a limited selection. However, if you are new to ceramics and Japanese ceramics in particular, then this is our choice to get you started, read on….

Japanese pottery and porcelain are as old as the hills, dating back to neolithic times Kilns in Japan have been producing pottery, stoneware, porcelain and ceramics. With earthenware dating back to 10,500 BC, it’s no surprise that it is held in such high artistic regard in the country.

Ceramic artists from all Japanese regions can be found in galleries and museums internationally, from old masters to new contemporary artists. The craftsmanship, typical of Japan and the artists’ artistic vision, makes their work highly sought after.

Table Of Contents

Junko Kitamura


Junko Kitamura studied under masters of Japanese ceramics, Suzuki Osama and Kondo Yutaka. Her work is inspired by Korean Punch’ong or Buncheong ware.

Kitamura creates wheel-thrown clay pieces which are then inlaid intricately with geometric patterns and tiny concentric dots.
Her work is found in many museum collections internationally.

Junko Kitamura

Yoshimi Futamura

Yoshimi Futamura has been living and working in Paris, France since 1986, ten years after her move she founded her first atelier in Lilas, before later establishing a new Atelier in Paris in 2010.

Her work is heavily influenced by nature, with several works taking inspiration from the natural world. Futamura’s work is a reflection of forms found in nature.

She has been exhibiting internationally since 1990 and remains one of Japans most popular contemporary ceramicists.

Yoshimi Futamura

Yuji Ueda

Born in a Japanese region known for its tea ceremonies and pottery, Yuji Ueda grew up in a family of Tea farmers.

Ueda’s ceramics are noted for his experimentation in firing techniques. He has created his own unique process in which he uses blocks of Choseki feldspar or through building irregular clays that are then fired in Anagama Kilns.

He continues to live and work in Shiga prefecture, Japan.

Yuji Ueda

Machiko Ogawa

Machiko Ogawa was born in Sapporo in 1946, after studying in Tokyo in the late sixties she began to travel, with time spent in France and Africa.

While in Burkina Faso, Ogawa began to learn local ceramic techniques which she still uses today.

Her work can resemble volcanic rock or even ice. Winner of the Japan Ceramic Society Award, one can find her work in several international collections and museums.

Machiko Ogawa
Machiko Ogawa

Daisuke Iguchi

Born in Tochigi, Japan in 1975, Daisuke Iguchi’s inspiration for his ceramics is the concept of Sabi, an appreciation for things old and faded. He spent many years researching techniques to mimic the aesthetic of patinated iron and moss-covered stone, enabling him to apply them to the surface of his pieces.

This technique is a mixture of applying ash, precise firing polishing.

Iguchi still lives and works in Tochigi and has been awarded several ceramic distinctions over the years.

Daisuke Iguchi

Masanao Kaneta

Masanao Kaneta comes from a long line of Hagi potters; however, what sets his work apart from other potters in the region is likely his formal training in sculpture.

This affection for sculpture allows him to produce pieces that set him apart from other Hagi potters. His signature pieces are dug out rather than shaped on a wheel, creating strong and dramatic vessels.

Masanao Kaneta

Tōru Kurokawa

Tōru Kurokawa might be young (born in 1984) but has already had a solo show at Sokyo Gallery, Tokyo.

Kurokawa uses various clays to produce large sculptural forms all with a feel of prehistoric biological lifeforms.

Tōru Kurokawa
Tōru Kurokawa ceramics
Tōru Kurokawa

Eiko Kishi

Eiko Kishi’s work is highly detailed, sculptural and geometric.

Her ceramics are carved in minute detail; coloured clays which can only really be appreciated when examined up close are applied to the surface, and the result of this highly time-consuming process is a ceramic that resembles stone with a highly intricate surface.

Her work has seen her consistently win awards both in Japan and Europe.

Eiko Kishi

Zenji Miyashita

Zenji Miyashita was born In Kyoto to Zenju Miyashita, the master porcelain artist.

He was trained by ceramic sculptor Kyubei Kiymizu at Kyoto University of Art and Music. Soon after he began his practice, applying several layers of thin clay in various shades to his pieces to resemble hills, clouds or waves.

Miyashita has won several awards, which has established him as a significant artist in Japanese ceramics.

Famous Japanese ceramic artists
Zenji Miyashita

Kimiyo Mishima

At 89 years old Kimiyo Mishima is one of the most widely exhibited sculptural ceramicists from Japan. Her work has been exhibited throughout the world since the 70s.

Kimiyo Mishima started her career as a painter, but as she moved into ceramics, her clay became her canvas. Over the years, her work has become more political in nature with pieces looking like discarded papers or boxes.

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