Dialogue Gallery

Raizan Yasunaga

Raizan Yasunaga was born in Shimane (western Japan) in 1970. He earned a law degree and began his career as a bureaucrat in Shimane’s local government. Yasunaga’s interest in, and passion for, ceramic art was awakened by Sajiro Tanaka, a prominent ceramic artist who is based in Karatsu, a city that is a center of traditional Japanese pottery. Immediately after meeting Tanaka in 1998, Yasunaga changed his career, leaving public service to become a ceramic artist. Yasunaga started working for Tanaka as an assistant and spent two years with him. Since launching his own kiln in 2008, Yasunaga has held exhibitions regularly at top art galleries in Japan. He intensively explores the Karatsu ware of the 16th and 17th centuries, when it first emerged. He is one of the major mid-career ceramic artists. He won prizes at the 63rd Japan Ceramic Art Award (2016), the 34th Tabe Museum Award (2017), the Seibu Traditional Ceramic Art Award (2017), and the 7th Kikuchi Biennale (2017). Karatsu ware has a history of about 400 years. It is made of local clays and glazes, and is fired in a climbing kiln. Yasunaga likes to create tea ceremony wares, such as tea bowls, flower vases and water jugs. Karatsu ware is often said to be characterized by rusticity and naturalness. According to Yasunaga, simplicity and the elimination of clutter are important when he works on clays and glazes.