Keizo Ishikawa is a man on the mission. He’s determined to bring Arita porcelain back to the masses. But this is not a man who deals in plates and pots, his vision for the future is adapting the porcelain for new uses including fountain pens, shochu bottles and, his true passion, kaleidoscopes.
Here he explains how and why.
‘Arita porcelain production has fallen to a third of what it was at its peak, we have to act now or it will disappear.’
‘I got the idea of combining porcelain and kaleidoscopes when I was taken ill and was admitted to hospital for a number of months. I drew a great deal of inspiration from my childhood kaleidoscope, so when I was given the all-clear I started to combine the two.’
‘The government said it was impossible, but I believe that if we can combine knowledge from different industries with the quality of the local craftsmanship we can create something truly original. So I invited kaleidoscope-makers and potters to meet and after a lot of hard work - it’s difficult to make a single porcelain cylinder which is needed to make a kaleidoscope – we succeeded. Our kaleidoscopes now sell around Japan as well as in Dubai and New York.’
‘Following our success with kaleidoscopes, we looked at how we could use the techniques to create other items – and came up with a porcelain fountain pen. When the G8 summit came to Japan, each deligate was presented with one of these pens. It was a proud moment. Now we even have Hello Kitty pens.’
‘Our latest development is creating shochu bottles. It seems logical, shochu is the local drink after all.’
‘My dream is to take our kaleidoscopes to the UK. The kaleidoscope was invented in Scotland, so it would be like the prodigal son returning.’
SAGADAN, Aritayaki Oroshidanchi, Akasaka, Aritamachi, Saga Prefecture 844-0024
Telephone +81 955 43 2424