Akaji Ken was born in Kanazawa, Japan in 1938. As a boy of sixteen he started as a pupil with the ceramic master Sōsuke Wata, who teached him the kutani overglaze technique. At the age of twenty seven he opened his own studio where he worked in the Japanese traditional way. Akaji joined the Kutani-yaki Cooperative Society. But over the years he was looking for innovation in ceramics and participated in the "crafts movement", in favour for less traditional ceramics. Since 1981 Akaji is concentrating on red overglazed work, where the red decoration is painted with simple brush strokes (text: Galerie Carla Koch, Amsterdam).
Images: Portrait (source: galerie Carla Koch, Amsterdam); two porcelain boxes and the interior of one (collection Capriolus).
Ken Akaji specializes in kutani-ware, a type of pottery with overglaze painting that is known for its bright, vivid colors and bold, varying shapes. Especially the porcelain boxes are interesting. They are inspired by traditional pencilboxes and boxes for food and modelled in a ingenious way. The inside has a fine decoration. An intriguing translation of traditional shapes into contemporary pieces of art.