Living National Treasure (2014)
Iro-Nabeshima, a polychrome, enamel painted porcelain, was developed during the Edo period (1615–1868), under the support of Nabeshima domain in current-day Saga prefecture. Highly praised for its meticulous enamel painting that illustrates both Asian and Western motifs, Nabeshima wares have been one of the most celebrated porcelains in Japan and abroad. The Imaizumi family continues to pass down the techniques of Nabeshima from the Edo period. Imaizumi Imaemon became the 14th generation head of the family upon completing his studies in traditional metalwork in college and working in the product design industry. The family reputation and long tradition came with the challenge to further develop Nabeshima wares. The artist’s signature techniques include sumi-hajiki—a dying technique that takes advantage of the repellent nature of sumi ink applied onto a white porcelain base to create patterns or motifs prior to firing—passed down since the Edo period, and a new over-glaze painting technique using platinum (platinum coloring). Imaizumi adds his personal tastes to decorative designs by rendering classical favorites, such as plum and hydrangea motifs, with more modern patterns like snowflakes.
In 2014, Imaizumi received the ultimate distinction: at the age of 51, he became the youngest artist to be designated a Living National Treasure in Japan. His work is part of collections at many museums, including The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, The Kyushu Ceramic Museum in Saga, The Museum of Ceramic Art in Hyogo, The British Museum in London and The Auckland Museum in New Zealand.
- Asia Week, New York, US
- Japan from Prehistory to the Present, British Museum, London, UK
- Contemporary Japanese Ceramics, Embassy of Japan, Washington D.C., US
- Contemporary Kōgei Styles in Japan, Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach, Florida, US
Selected Public Collection
- British Museum, London, UK; Auckland Museum, New Zealand; Kyushu Ceramic Museum, Arita, Saga, Japan; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; Museum of Ceramic Art, Sasayama, Hyogo, Japan
- Recipient of the Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Government of Japan for his contributions in Ceramics
- Recipient of the Governor of Tokyo at the 51st Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition Prize
- The succession to the 14th Imaizumi Imaemon
- 14th Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition Prize recipient
- 1996, 1998
- The issuikai prize in Issui Group Exhibition
- The 43rd Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition Prize recipient