This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No546.
Today was the last day of Goldenweek Holidays and TV news are showing traffic jam of people coming back home. Trains are full too- Shinkansen to Osaka or Tokyo are both full. School starts and most people work from tomorrow. Many people enjoyed four days holidays and the next holidays will be Obon (mid August).
Travel by trains are quite convenient here, probably most tourists from foreign countries use Shinkansen to move from west to east of Japan. Shinkansen goes to Kyushu island too, and there are a lot of charming places to visit in Kyusyu too.
Last October, JR Kyusyu made Nanatsuboshi train(the Cruise Train Seven Stars) which goes all seven prefectures of Kyushu. This train is the ultimate luxury.
The designer who was in charge of the interior of this luxurious train, wanted best of best for this sublime train. He wanted to make a train just as `Orient Express' and wanted to give the passengers a surprise, satisfaction and the joy which they never had experienced before by travel by train.
The designer collected the essence of Japanese craftsmanship and among them, there was Kakiemon XIV(Kakiemon Sakaida), a most famous potter of Arita, Saga prefecture.
The designer asked to make wash basin for the luxurious Cruise Train Seven Stars to Kakiemon XIV who became a National Treasure in 1971. He accepted this request and made the beautiful basin for the train-this acually became his posthumous work. He knew he had a cancer when the designer asked him to help him with the project wash for the special train, and he was happy to do this work - he said he was happy because this is what passengers use and many people can actually touch his work. Kakiemon brand is so precious and beyond most people's reach. He thought it is an interesting project and wanted to try his best.
He devoted himself to this project - made traditional and witty design and since he knew he could not last long, his son was taking over the work. Kakiemon family had inherited the craftsmanship of Arita ware(porcelin) almost 400 years!
I used to have some negative impression about craftmanship inheritance of families but the strong will and responsibility of Kakiemon XIV to his next generation was just so impressive. He became seriously ill but tried to give what he had, the technique and the spirit to the next generation. He was telling his son, `Do not try to draw or paint well. Do what you think is interesting. Do not try to be clever.'
Kakiemon XIV passed away in June, without seeing the completed Cruise Train Seven Stars but the work was the fruit of the father and the son. The spirit is living and the Kakiemon's wash basin with witty and gorgeous paint (he also omade the basin as `Heptagon' shape because of the name `Seven Stars')
Ten days after they have delivered the basin, Hiroshi, the son of Kakiemon XIV became Kakiemon XV.
This is Hiroshi:
He said being born as a son of Kakiemon XIV, he had no ordinary relationship as father and son. Kakiemon XIV was a master and Hiroshi was always nervous by his judgement. However, he said through this last project, he could understand what his father was going through and could imagine how much pressure his father had because of his mission. His father is gone but left the legacy - the spirit of Arita to Hiroshi. From now on, he has to fight with the pressure and have to perform his duty as Kakiemon XV.
With the collection of craftsmen's elabroate work, the Cruise Train Seven Stars appeared as the most luxurious train. Getting the ticket for the ride is very hard, the tour from summer to autumn 2014 have been all sold inspite of the very high price.