Shōmura Ken is the fifth generation head of the Banko kiln, which dates back to the Meiji period (1868-1912) in Arita. Although polychrome enamel painted porcelain and blue-and-white porcelain (sometsuke) are most prevalent in Arita, the artist first worked with white and blue celadons. He studied for seven years under Inoue Manji, the leading expert of white porcelain production who was later designated a Living National Treasure in 1995. Shōmura trained with Inoue creating vessels on a potter’s wheel, which became the foundation for his eventual works of clear and sleek porcelain. Shōmura’s celadon works quickly gained recognition in juried competitions and at the young age of 31, he was a top contestant at the prestigious Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition in 1980.
Shōmura continued to challenge himself and developed his signature techniques, ai-zome (indigo-dyeing) and beni-zome (red-dyeing). He attributes the development of these techinqiues to his prior exposure to stoneware production. His exploration of glazes for stonewares allowed Shōmura to take the bold approach of applying them for the first time to porcelains. Shōmura continually works with ingenuity and creativity towards new types of porcelain production in Arita.