Yoshita Minori Japanese, Living National Treasure, b. 1932

The Yoshita family runs the Nishikiyama kiln, which specializes in aka-e kinrande, a highly decorative porcelain technique involving gold and red enamel painting in brocade-patterns on Kutani wares from Ishikawa. In 1951, Yoshita Minori, who had been making pottery since high school, took over the family business and became the 3rd generation head of the family. Since then, he has been experimenting with various traditional techniques characteristic to the Nishikiyama Kiln while refining them in innovative ways. The artist is recognized for his graceful application of yĆ«ri-kinsai, an underglazed gold decorative porcelain developed during the 1960s in Kanazawa, in which gold-leaf cutouts are applied prior to glazing rather than painted by brush. Yoshita’s technique is a perfect marriage of elegant Kutani porcelain traditions with kinpaku or gold-leaf, the highly prized local product of the former Kaga domain, Ishikawa. His method opened a new frontier in the world of gold-colored porcelains in Japan and he is regarded as the premier artist of this technique. In 2001, he was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon, and in 2006, he received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, from the Emperor of Japan.