October 1996.
I have just returned from quite an amazing trip to Japan. I have been greatly warmed by the Japanese people and feel that I made some good friends . Simon Piggott's final schedule was extremely full so I was very busy. I spent seven nights in Tokyo and the rest of the time moving around the very beautiful Nagano area of Japan. In Nagano I gave 3 lectures the last of which was the Memorial Lecture at the 7th International Design Camp at Matsumoto.

 

 

This was introduced by 87 year old Sanshiro Ikeda, who had been a close friend of my grandfather, Bernard Leach, back in the 1950's. The title of the lecture was " A Village Potter-Views of English Crafts, past and present"[with special reference to Bernard Leach] .

My first talk was splendidly organised by Masao Nanzaka masaonan@valley.ne.jp in Ina-shi. A further eight days of my time in Nagano were spent with the potter Toshio Kawate and his delightful family about 20 minutes from Iida. He had kindly agreed to hold the joint exhibition with me in his very fine home. The exhibition was a great success, everything sold, but more than that, each day we spent from 10 am to 6 pm talking to Japanese people who came to the exhibition.[some had come miles] . This daily dialogue, interpretted through the kindness of their daughter, Natsko, was a great sharing of our ideas and culture. With Toshio we did discuss, as well, the possibility of a return exhibition but we will have to wait and see.

Toshio and Family.1996

In Tokyo, I had two more lectures the first one at the Kuwasawa Design School [ This college's teachings are based on the Bauhaus principles] and the final lecture was in one of the galleries of the Folk Craft Museum of Tokyo.I felt very honoured to be giving a lecture in so significant a place. I have to say that I was more nervous about this talk than the rest, but I need not have been About 50-60 attended and many interesting questions were asked afterwards. Simon Piggott not only did a brilliant job interpretting but was also very helpful with advice and suggestions.

On my final day I went to Mashiko with Kaori , the daughter of the family I stayed with in Tokyo. We met Shinsaku Hamada and his son Tomo who were both very hospitable and entertained us to Cornish Pasties! We had a very good look at many old Bernard Leach pots which I had previously only seen illustrated in books and of course I admired the work of Shoji Hamada.

I flew home both tired and elated.

Sanshiro & Philip P.S. Sanshiro Ikeda invited Frannie and myself to Japan for an exhibition in October 1998. This will take place in Matsumoto, Sanshiro's home city and the exhibition will be 150 pieces ! I am greatly looking forward to this. Sanshiro is now 80 years old and not in the best of health so he wants us to come soon.

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