Hamada Shōji

Hamada Shōji (Japanese, 1894-1978)
Vase, c. 1960
Glazed stoneware
Rodbell Family Collection

The emphasis on individuality found in the sōsaku-hanga movement also impacted the founding of the Mingei movement—similar to the British Arts and Crafts movement. Among the founders of the Mingei was Hamada Shōji, a potter who championed the work of individual craftspeople—those who created utilitarian, modern art while simultaneously embracing the indigenous craft aesthetic that was perceived to be threatened by industrialization. Following the Meiji era (1868–1912), which ushered in a dramatic industrial revolution, Western-type factories began to mass-produce ceramics. Artists like Hamada Shōji sought to maintain the tradition of hand-crafted objects. Hamada Shōji’s’s richly toned glazes and abstract, vegetal motifs became highly sought after in Japan and abroad.