Sansyu Ichiyo (三琇一陽 )

Sanshu Ichiyo was born In Aichi prefecture in 1902, and passed away in 1985. His family ran a wholesale China store, an he later ran a similar operation in Tokyo. Selling pottery, he had a unique opportunity to study different styles and types popular around Japan at the time, and eventually began making his own. He is thoroughly self educated.
Along with notable potters like Tofukuji and Uematsu Tosui(another renowned pottery wholesaler come pottery designer), it is believed that Ichiyo, along with close friend Ichikawa Taishu, were pivotal in ushering in the age of respect for Japanese ceramicists in the 20th century. His admirers are legion, and his apprentices include such notable notables as Ito Gekkou, Ito Tonyo, Shiko, Tankyou, and Sugiura Keisen.
Now, on to the pots!

First up, from my collection, a large(19″) unglazed oval with a mottled patina over yellow clay. Really interesting clay color, similar to old Chinese white clay.

Another of mine, a tray style rectangle with cream glaze and a magnificent patina.

A light blue round with gold repair work. Ichiyos have a relatively delicate construction, and, as a result, the vast majority show some significant edge chips.

The last Ichiyo in my collection, a tiny blue mokko shape.

A yellow Ichiyo rectangle. Clean, pure yellow with a nice patina.

A footed cream glazed Ichiyo. Nice patina beginning to form over the pure white glaze.

A green glazed Ichiyo bag style pot. Ichiyo is famous for his green glazes, which are considered some of the best of his generation.

A footed cream crackle rectangle. This was probably made around the time that antique crackle glazes became popular at exhibition. Many potters have made some sort of homage glazed pieces like them.

A fine example of why Ichiyo is famous for greens!

Another yellow, bright and fresh with an excellent patina. The box is awesome, and shows the age better than the pot, in this case.



A couple of mini Ichiyo showing some nice glazes and patina. The cascade in particular is nice: clean lines and great patina.

A relatively rare blue green Ichiyo oval. Really nice and understated, like much of Ichiyos work.


Front and bottom of a cream glazed drum over rich black clay. You can really see Ichiyos skill and attention to detail in this piece.

And we’ll finish up with this either blue-green or green-blue bag style pot. A great example of Ichiyos individual and unique glazes. The robins egg flecks bring out a darkness in the glaze, that, up close, appears quite bright and light.

Oops! Nearly forgot this one! I identified this pot as Sanshu Ichiyo for Bill Valavanis when I was at his nursery last November. This Ichiyo originally came from Yuuji Yoshimura. Ichiyo of this size(the chrysanthemum is 27 inches) are rare, an the glaze is the very green-blue that Ichiyo is famous for. A masterpiece pot! The photo comes from “Classical Bonsai Art: A Half Century of Bonsai Study”. An excellent book, I highly recommend!

Ichiyo artist marks.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at pots from Sanshu Ichiyo. Up next, we’ll take a look at master unglazed potter Wazyaku, then, the whimsical painted pots of Heian Shoami, and, then, the masterpiece pottery of Ichinokura Sekisyu.
A preview:


Heian Shoami

Ichinokura Sekisyu

Thanks for reading!


About japanesepots

I've been collecting Japanese Bonsai pots for a few years, and feel that the famous, and some of the lesser known but great Japanese pot artists could do with a little more writing and exposure in English. Additionally, this blog will feature My own And others bonsai for discussion. The purpose of this blog is to further knowledge of Japanese pottery and Japanese style bonsai. If you have any questions about Japanese bonsai pottery, or would like to acquire pots by some of the potters presented in the blog, feel free to email me at
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