Born December 12, 1980 (Taurus)

Hobbies: I like to spend time in the mountains and dig up dirt. What I do is turn them into shapes and fire them. The dug up dirt rarely turns out well, but it’s interesting; it reminds me of when I wasn’t very good but still made things. If someone gave me one million yen a month, I would want to play around doing stuff like this. I like soccer, too. About once every two months, I play futsal, and I even went to Brazil when I was in elementary school. But when Hidetoshi Nakata (a former professional footballer) came to TOKINOHA to interview us, I couldn't tell him that I played football (laughs).

Known as Kiyomizu ware, pottery produced in the vicinity of Kiyomizu-zaka Street which leads to Kiyomizu-dera Temple), is one of Kyoto's major traditional crafts. From the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600) to the Edo era (1603-1867), a great amount of ceramics was produced in Kyoto (then Japan's capital city), influenced by its tea ceremony culture. Its ceramics were also called Kyo ware, but only Kiyomizu ware remains today. Further to the east is Yamashina Ward, which houses the Kiyomizu Pottery Complex, where you can find wholesalers, studios, artists, suppliers of materials, joinery artisans, doll makers, and more.

TOKINOHA creates series with designs full of originality and custom-made ceramics for restaurants in addition to developing the business with novel approaches to Kiyomizu ware. With diverse collections that include relatively low-priced ceramics series, TOKINOHA endeavors to produce items that you'll want to pick up.

The Absurdity of Thinking Traditional=Good

Since long ago, Kyoto has passed down its traditional culture and art through the generations. As my mother was born and raised right in the center of Kyoto, I’ve always come across a lot of people who imply things should be done because of tradition or it's a long-standing custom. However, I hate being told how all sorts of things are good or fantastic or amazing just because it's tradition. From traditional culture like tea ceremony to social customs like randoseru backpacks for elementary school students, there are so many rules and conventions that have been passed down from long ago without any distinct reasons, aren't there? Ceramics seemed the same to me. I felt that it was utterly absurd that it wasn't about the difference in quality, but instead the item’s background. Every single instance of that absurdity irritates me so much. However, I've gradually found more places and people with whom I can have these conversations, so this anger has died down.

Reconstructing Kyoto

Things that have a reason they’re good are of course good. But I don't think it's right for tradition to be automatically regarded as good. For example, there's a tendency to think that Japanese food has to use dishes produced by famous traditional artists. This leads to less opportunities for creators who are skilled but don't have tradition behind them. But outside Kyoto - for example, at a certain fine dining restaurant in Tokyo, they use mass-produced dishes, not ones made by an artist, and it's because the chef thinks they're good. It's not about tradition or the artist's reputation; liking it is enough. I think people should have confidence in their own aesthetic sense. That might be why people outside Kyoto who don't know anything about its customs are sometimes the ones who can incorporate new things and break new ground. There's no set definition of what’s truly “Kyoto.” I don’t want to rest on our laurels because of tradition, but instead rationally reconstruct our idea of Kyoto while deciding what’s necessary or not alongside people here in Kyoto.

When You Fall, Just Get Up Again

I'm fond of this quote from the founder of Panasonic, Konosuke Matsushita: "When you fall, stand back up!" He's saying that even if you fail, you should just get up again. I've always lived life believing that even if I fail at work, the worst that would happen is me having to live in a park or something, so I'm not afraid of falling down. I might have a few screws loose. It might not be such a strange way to think if you’re single, but I'm married (laughs). When I lost work during COVID, I did some research on what happens if you go bankrupt. But I realized I'd be totally fine. I thought, "You can't use credit cards after you go bankrupt? If that's all, no problem!” When I start something new, the interesting parts end up winning against the riskiness. That being said, I do make business plans and everything in advance! I think through it properly. If it's risky with only about a 10% chance of success, I won't do it. But if it's around 50% and there's a real chance, I'll go for it.

Craftsmanship That Will be Cherished in the Future

I believe that there isn’t a single useless element within the things that have remained since long ago without anyone intending to preserve them - nature, architecture, culture, and so on. To put it another way, whatever was unnecessary during its time has disappeared. I often hear that people seek inspiration by looking at art, but for craftsmanship, what's important is looking at the craft's origins and your resources. For ceramics, it would be the vessels of the Muromachi period (1336-1392). In Kyoto, you'll find those origins still there, all over the place! I think it's an amazing city; it's so easy to experience the emotions of our predecessors. I also want to be able to make things that will be cherished by those in the future. Pursuing this desire leads me to this: simplicity. Around 20 years ago, I used to make decorative things that would make a splash, but I found that in the end, I get tired of them after a little while.



Do you have a special attachment to any of the pieces at TOKINOHA?
That would be my debut work from when I was in ceramics school. It came from youth; I was full of cockiness then, thinking, "I'm not making something normal!" Now, I think that simple is best. The pieces that stay around are the ones that make you think, "It may be normal, but it looks awesome." That's what I'm aiming for, but I still haven't achieved it. So, you could say that my debut work is the polar opposite. My teacher used to tell me, "With solo exhibitions, you can be bold on the first day, but if you stay like afterwards that you won't learn anything." But once I'm happy, it's over. I keep that debut work in the showroom as a lesson for myself.
Which do you enjoy more - running the business or making ceramics?
That's a tough one. I want to do both because they're completely different. I'd like my business to be like a restaurant with lots of staff. If I get sick of it I might quit, but actually, I haven't gotten sick of ceramics yet. I've always played soccer; it's similar to my fondness for that. I can never have enough. I could keep going forever. That's fun to me. I think it's interesting that while I'll lose the ability to play sports with age, I'll still be able to keep making ceramics.
What's the meaning behind the name “TOKINOHA”?
I was born into a family that's produced ceramics for generations. After studying architecture at college, I entered the world of ceramics. My wife also makes ceramics, and at first, we did it separately, but now we work together. So that’s the meaning behind TOKINOHA as a brand. It comes from the Japanese words "toki no ha," meaning "the wings of a Japanese crested ibis,” which are colored purple and pink underneath. The name of the place where we first worked together included the characters for purple and pink, so that inspired us. While a lot of Kiyomizu ware is classic pieces used for Japanese food, we make pieces that young people also feel they can use.


Price 200,000 yen
Number of participants per group 1-4 people
Available times 10:00 am to 1:00 pm / 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Cancellation policy 100% cancellation fee 7 days or more before the event date.
Payment method Credit card only
Application Requirements Participants must be at least 18 years old
(Children 12-18 years old may participate if accompanied by a parent or guardian)
Reservation deadline Until 7 days prior to the date of the dialogue
What will happen on the day 1. Pick up at hotel
2. Arrive at location of dialogue
3. Chat and explanation about dialogue
4. Dialogue with your chosen Kyotoite
5. Drop off at hotel


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