I was away from writing for so long I missed 3 entire years of The Annual Kobachi Exhibition which I have written about since it’s 7th year. The reports from The All Japan Shohin Bonsai Association who holds the exhibition every year in January at the Gafu Ten are No longer available online(even with the Wayback Machine!). So I will have to piece together some highlights and hopefully the winners from each exhibition so there will be a record in English. I’m a day early with the weekly post today because I have another one for you later this week!
If you’d like to see articles about the previous exhibitions, check the “A Table of Contents” page in the Menu on mobile or on the the header banner on PC. Lots to learn as you follow the potters who have entered multiple times!
The 12th Annual Kobachi Exhibition
Gold Prie awarded to Kyoshi Koiwai for his 3 piece entry with wonderful glazes and lips. Perfect forms!
Detail of me favorite of the three. Outstanding form and glaze.
My second, but close, favorite. Wonderful and uniform micro crystals. An aspect of his glazes(his zinc crystals in particular) that he told me personally won him the bronze prize this month at the 2021 exhibition.
Silver prize winner for 2017 was Dokou(土交). I like the form on the mokko and the variety but, I really felt there were better entries this year and was surprised at this choice.
The Bronze Award for the 12th Kobachi goes to a longtime favorite of the blog(and my collection!), multiple Gold Award winner Shigeru Zyubei. His new work is outstanding, but it was an odd choice for him to enter all Taiko cascades.
Detail of the striated blue Cantonese style glaze Zyubei is famous for.
The Gold Prize was Awarded to “Shouzan”(昭山). Both the technical form and Shudei vermillion red clay are outstanding.
A potter who I was not familiar with and could not find any information about took the silver award. Great series of mame pots, lots of variety and vibrant clay.
Tadashi Ono once again takes an award in the unglazed category, this time the bronze. Easily the best sculptor of his generation.
A rare .honorable mention was also given, although I am not familiar with the artist. All the pieces are variable in size, style, and technique, well deserved.
The gold award for painted containers went to a potter I wasn’t immediately familiar with. Yoshikawa Itidou’s display is outstanding though(thanks to Alfred Tan for the name). A great variety of sizes, motifs, and shapes. A deserving award winner from the Itodou kiln.
The silver award in 2017 went to a friend of the blog whose work I’ve followed since he began posting on Facebook, Taiwanese artist Ruban Yu.The variety of painting and pottery techniques here is outstanding. Orange glazed with sometsuke sansui windowsand no window bleed, panel pdetailed ainted multicolor unglazed, and a an alarm overglaze enamel with outstanding details. A well deserved award.
A trio of sometsuke pots takes the bronze for female painter Syoko Kunii. Good variety of design, and excellent classical sometsuke graphic work.
OTHER NOTABLE ENTRIES
The nephew of popular and respected Bonsai potter Fukushige. In 2020 he goes on to win the Gold award. That’s real improvement!
Long loved by the blog, since he first appeared selling publicly, a great painted entry from Shunka Seizan. While I’m still most in love with his glazes, his paintings are rapidly becoming contenders for award.
As usual, an excellent and varied display from future and past gold award winner Shun. A little dark and classical, not the artist’s usual style.
Doshita Toyosei, special exhibition.
Doshita Keishin, wife of Toyosei, special display.
Shinobu trio showing the excellent glazes, forms, and unique details that this potter has become famous for.
The 13th Annual Kobachi Exhibition WINNERS
Tadashi Ono, bronze award in the previous year, and yet another Gold Prize to add to his others. The best sculptor of his generation, this years display showed excellent detail and varied clay color.
Haruhisa Totsuka wins the unglazed silver prize with a trio of varied rounds. His display in last years (2020) exhibition was one of my favorites.
The Bronze award for the 2018 Kobachi went to a potter whose name I couldn’t find. The display shows a great display of form, and excellent technical skill with such thin walls.
Longtime love of the site Shigeru Zyubei takes gold prize with a trio of fantastically glazed pieces. I’ve written multiple articles about the artist, one of my favorites, so my opinions should be clear if you check the A Table Of Contents page!
The silver award went to Haruhisa Totsuka for a well varied trio of pieces. Different glazes, nice shape variety, good technique, and definitely deserving.
The variety of shapes, sizes, glazes, and styles on the bronze prize winner’s display, Yoichi Yoshida, is just outstanding. It was definitely one of my favorite displays in the exhibition.
Yuuki Shoseki, well known daughter in law of pioneer female container painter Ishida Shoseki, takes the Gold in the 13th Kobachi for a trio painted very much in her signature, classical, bright style.
A fantastic display of Toshimine mame containers wins the silver award. A great display showing variety and detailed technique from a painter fast becoming well known in the West.
Ruban Yu takes the bronze at the 18th Kobachi. With a bronze and a silver in back to back to years, I don’t think we have long to wait before this Taiwanese artist takes home a gold award.
OTHER NOTABLE ENTRIES
Watanabe Ikkou special exhibition
Itoh Gekkou Special Display
The 14th Annual Kobachi Exhibition
A surprising choice for Gold this year in the glazed containers, Taiwanese potter “Shung Cheng”(順成). Only the 2nd non-Japanese to take Gold Prize(the first being Andrew Pearson). The pottery itself is excellent, and she shows a great variety of technical skill and talent. Variable glazes, sizes, fancy feet: a worthy award.
American Roy Minarai became the second Westerner accepted in the exhibition and brought home a Silver Award in his first outing. Not too shabby for 3 years of bonsai pottery, putting America on the map in Asia where we have long been made jest of for our bonsai pottery!
I hated the photo they took at the exhibition, so I included a detail photo of Roy’s display of his award winning containers at the National Shohin Bonsai Exhibition in Charlotte, NC. The shitakusa, among other things, was Bill Valavanis’s idea, you can always trust Bill to come up with some of the best non-conforming display ideas, such as using a storage box as a stand for the Shinsha Yu glazed square. 2022 will definitely be Roy’s year for gold(if he does it right) 😉
A completely Unknown potter to me placed at bronze for glazed containers in 2019. Personally I thought there were better entries and this one escaped me completely. Although the pots do have a nice variety, the display is very crowded. UNGLAZED CONTAINERS
Yoshiyuki Kawada takes the gold award in 2019! Fantastically carved containers, Kawada is fast becoming one of the top 3 carvers of his generation. Classical depictions of Raijin and Fujin, Japanese weather gods, grace avant-garde containers in this duo. The work he’s done since Beer, Wine, and Cheese banded together to buy him a kiln has been worth every penny spent, and then some! Quite the comeuppance given his former unpopularity! Congratulations Kawada San!
A great unglazed silver award entry from Shunpou. Much improved from his entry in the 13th exhibition. His work, in both shape and rustic clay, as well as technique, shows slight reminiscences to Syuzan and Senshu.
An excellent trio of pots takes the bronze from a potter I was unfamiliar with, Itsuho, Tada Kenta. Great bi-color clay rounds.
A much better photo than the one from the exhibition. The gold award at the 14th Annual Kobachi Exhibition went to Hiroshi Yanagawa. The level of detail and technical craft in these pieces is unbelievable. Very Chinese in style, different and more archaic than the Southern Hanga style we often see imitated by Fujikake Yuzan and Joshu Katsuyama. These express a level of skill and technique not seen in decades…or maybe longer.
Speaking of generations of talent, this photo is pretty cool. On the left is Hiroshi Yanagawa standing next to one of his teachers, the grandson of the great Yusen, Tsukinowa Shosen. Hiroshi Yanagawa’s Gold Winning Painted Display is between them.
Martin Englert took home the silver prize for Germany and the EU, another win in 2019 for the West! What a wonderful trio of containers! Congratulations Martin, the best painter of his generation working in the Western world!
Another relative unknown, with a potter’s name that appears to be “Yo”, takes the bronze prize in 2019. A trio of charming rounds depicting classical images from the chojugiga(see article on blog in A Table of Contents). Traditional depictions seem to always be a judge favorite, a literal classic.
OTHER NOTABLE ENTRIES
Watanabe Ikkou Special Display of over 30 pots. I once had a respected enthusiast tell me Ikkou made production pots….they don’t give out 30 pot special exhibits at the most renowned Shohin pottery exhibition in Bonsai for production work!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the three Annual Contemporary Kobachi Exhibitions I missed while on hiatus. I definitely missed a few details, but hopefully I’ve provided somewhat of a record for those of us in the Western World.
Thanks for Reading!
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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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