Urgent Appeal: Japanese potters need your help!

Hamada Museum

Ken Matsuzaki has put out an urgent appeal for help for the Mishiko Pottery in Japan, which was damaged during the earthquake. “In Mashiko, nearly all the Nobori kilns fell down, and Mashiko’s firing is about to go out” Matsuzaki said. In addition, the town is only 110 km from the damaged nuclear reactor, Fukushima 1. (Following Matsuzaki’s appeal are links to the “Handmade in Japan” benefit art auction.)

“We, potters, cannot help being shocked because the kiln is the soul of us. We cannot turn off this fire in ‘Mashiko, the Sacred Place of Mingei’, ‘Mashiko, Town of Handcraft’, which Shoji Hamada established. We must keep the smoke coming out of chimneys in Mashiko.”

The history of the town is outlined by the Japanese National Tourism Organization: “In the middle of the 19th century, Keizaburo Otsuka found potter’s clay at Ohtsu-sawa and built a kiln to bake it, which was the origin of Mashiko ceramics. Later at the beginning of the 20th century, a ceramist, Shoji Hamada, built a kiln in Mashiko.”

Matsuzaki started the Mishiko Pottery Foundation and is asking that donations be sent to restore this significant pottery. This link shows photos of the damage done to the Hamada Museum.

Matsuzaki said, “I would like to thank you for your help to rebuild Mashiko. I appreciate very much everyone’s favor. Having talked with the Mayer of Mashiko town, we agreed to set up the foundation between NPOs. It is called as ‘Mashiko Potter Foundation’ to be used exclusively for the pottery. We will use it with care not to waste your favors.”

Please send the amount to MPF account listed below,

Account Name : MPF
Bank Name : The Ashikaga Bank,Ltd..
Mashiko branch
Bank Address : 967 Mashiko, Mashiko-machi, Haga-gun
Tochigi-ken, Japan 3214217 Tel:0285-72-2131
Account No. : ordinary account No.195-3009543

Here is a link that will give you more information about the town and its significance: Guide to Mashiko Town in Japan


BENEFIT AUCTION INFORMATION: Here are links to recent news stories for “Handmade in Japan” art auction:

New York Times Blog

The Japan Times

The Huffington Post

(The following information is from Ceramics Daily)

Handmade for Japan Auction

Handmade for Japan is an online auction of unique, handmade art donated by generous artists throughout North America and Japan. The auction will be held March 24, 8:00pm EST – March 27, 8:00pm EST through eBay’s Giving Works program, which is partnered with MissionFish. To participate go here: http://stores.ebay.com/handmade-for-japan. One hundred percent of the auction’s net proceeds will be donated to Global Giving’s Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. Handmade For Japan aims to raise over $25,000 for Global Giving efforts.

“Handmade for Japan” was borne out of concern for Japan’s residents immediately following the disaster by Japanese-American ceramic artist, Ayumi Horie. She was soon joined in her efforts by US-based Japanese citizen, Ai Kanazawa Cheung, and by Kathryn Pombriant Manzella, a former resident of Japan. All three members of the Handmade For Japan team maintain deep ties to the country.

Within two days of the idea’s conception, “Handmade For Japan” has secured the participation of prominent artists and craftspeople throughout North America and Japan including Jun Kaneko, Nancy Blum, Akio Takamori, Takashi Hinoda, and Lisa Congdon. In addition, in the same forty-eight hour time period HFJ’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/handmadeforjapanauction) gathered the attention and approval of over 2,300 members, many offering their own art as well as publicity for the event through their social networking efforts.


Leach Pottery

The Leach Pottery, founded in 1920 by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada in England, has set up an Earthquake relief fund: http://www.leachpottery.com/


Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF)

The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) strongly encourages supporting the first responders and wants to pass along Network for Good’s list of some of them: http://www1.networkforgood.org/help-survivors-pacific-quake-tsunami.


The Japan Society

The Japan Society has set up a fund for Earthquake relief. 100% of funds raised in the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund will go to Japanese and American grassroots organizations on the frontlines of the relief and recovery effort in Japan.

About Jan

I have a background in ceramics, graphic design and journalism.
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