Tokuda Yasokichi III Japanese, Living National Treasure, 1933-2009

Tokuda Yasokichi III (1933-2009) was one of the world’s most famous Kutani potters. Born in Ishikawa Prefecture, he was designated as a Ningen Kokuho (Living National Treasure) in 1997 for the mastery of his saiyu glaze technique. Yasokichi III innovatively developed the saiyu technique based on traditional Kutani colored glaze enameling techniques handed down from his grandfather, Tokuda Yasokichi I, and using techniques learned from his father, Tokuda Yasokichi II. With saiyu, Yasokichi III created his own visual world characterized by the delicate shading and beautiful contrast of enamel glaze colors. Yasokichi III’s work has been recognized widely and shown in numerous museums including the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Sackler Gallery, and the Smithsonian Institute. His honors include acceptance into the Issui-kai Pottery and Porcelain Exhibition (1958), the Japan Traditional Arts and Craft Society Chairman's Award (1977), the Grand Prize of the International Pottery and Porcelain Exhibition (1990), and the Purple Ribbon Medal given by the Government of Japan (1993).