HISTORY of Arita-yaki

Arita-yaki is the first porcelain in Japan


Porcelain stone is first discovered by Ri Sanpei, and the first porcelain made in Japan is created in Arita.


China stops exporting Chinese porcelain due to civil war. Arita becomes the biggest exporter for porcelain wares.


The Dutch East India Company takes the first European delivery of Arita-yaki. Arita-yaki was exported from Imari-port, so in Europe Arita-yaki is called IMARI. Arita-yaki exports to Europe increase rapidly because Arita-yaki was as valued as gold in Europe.


All over Europe royalty and aristocrats spent large sums of money on amassing huge collections of Arita-yaki. Their uncontrollable desires to obtain Arita-yaki were given the name “porcelain sickness.” The King of Poland (Augustus II the Strong) attempted to fill every room in the Japanese Palace of the Zwinger Palace with Arita-yaki.


The King of Poland (Augustus II the Strong) invested in Meissen, the first European porcelain. At that time numerous European kilns including Meissen in Germany, Chantilly, Saint-Claude, and Mennecy in France, and Chelsea, Bow, and Worcester in UK, Delft in Holland, started to imitate Arita-yaki (which was also known as Imari or Kakiemon).


Hokusai’s picture was used as wrapping paper for Arita-yaki exports to Europe. Because of this, it is said that Hokusai influenced van Gogh, Édouard Manet and Claude Monet.


The Philadelphia World Expo takes place in the US. Arita-yaki kilns received certificates of merit thanks to pieces by master artisans, including the accolade of gold medal certificates.


At the 3rd Paris World Expo, 242 Arita-yaki received awards. French collectors purchased all of the wares in the Japan booth in only a few days. The export volume of Arita-yaki increased by 270% over a period of 10 years.