The exhibition ‘Asia’ in the Rijks Museum this winter, showed how Japanese design was introduced in the Netherlands through the 17th century VOC.
One of the specialties the Dutch elite loved immediately was the precious, luxury porcelain of Kakiemon. Soon this was favoured over the Chinese porcelain.
Now, the celebrations of 400 year porcelain crafts in the Japanese Arita region, brings the 15th generation, Sakaida Kakiemon, to Amsterdam and Lloyd Hotel.
You come from a family with a long history and you have a 4 year old son. How do you see his future?
I am a little concerned, as I want to make sure he will inherit the atelier in top condition. Of course, it is not a given any more that my son will want to step in my footpath. He can make his own choice. But I do say to him that he would be the 16th who would take over the business.
Because of your long family tradition of porcelain craftmanship, I wonder that this has also become an instrument, a means of communication.
Indeed you are right.
This year we celebrate the Japanese-Dutch connection. What do you think we can learn from each other?
Firstly it is important to recognize that 400 years ago we already made these pieces of porcelain. And the Dutch with their tradition of trade, brought them to Europe. Of course both countries have changed a lot since then, and we have to take into account what the differences are to go further, together. In my case, I have to consider how we can offer a new Kakiemon style, in line with the tradition which is suited to the nowadays way of life. I think that is my task: keeping the essence of the tradition and creating new things.
You are very open minded people and yet you pay a lot of attention to your traditional ways of eating. What are you going to communicate with your new style of Kakiemon porcelain?
Our lifestyle has changed and we have to cater for that. I can imagine that we create different forms. And than we have this fantastic tradition of Kakiemon designs. How do we apply our traditional patterns to the new forms?
I just inherited this position and of course everything I do is stereotyped as being different. What I have to do is translate these new elements into the traditional way and at the same time survive as a free spirit.
That is a heavy task. I found your drawing style of flowers and fruits expressed a free and open attitude, even a little brusque.
You percieved that very well. At the moment I am drawing and making things as I feel. So I do it in a way that I think is nice. And then I execute it in the way I want to do things.
Nigoshide white covered jar with acorn patterns, 2015; porcelain; h. 16 1/8 x dia. 10 1/4 inches (41 x 26 cm)