Okinawa Tourism Information:ToubouMakiyainNanjoCityLeadinginanewkindofOkinawanpottery

Toubou Makiya in Nanjo City Leading in a new kind of Okinawan pottery

post : 2017.03.29 12:00

Navy blue arbesque patterns add charm and beauty to simple white bowls.
Osamu Makiya from Toubou Makiya in Nanjo City makes the items in the photo. The studio is located in the Sashiki Plain and at the base of Sukunamui (also called as the Fuji of Sashiki).
Popular and versatile soba dipping cups and the Makai bowl series are shown in this picture. The art gallery is a modified old Okinawan style house. Many of Makya’s creations are seen here and there inside. You will enjoy “Makiya world” at the studio.                                                                                       
I get excited seeing the lively arabesque patterns and other designs on these pieces from the top. Makiya learned his pottery and design techniques from Jissei Omine who is one of the great Okinawan ceramic artists. Makiya opened his own art studio in his hometown, Shuri in 2001 and moved to Nanjo City in 2013. 
The coffee cup is impressive for its cobalt blue color also called as “gosu” which is a traditional Japanese blue pigment. The dot pattern is made with a traditional technique called “tenuchi”.
The white statue is shisa, the Okinawan symbol has great impact from its corner of the gallery. This kind of modern of shisa is unusual and reminds me of ancient orient or the Silk Road. It’s charm is truly exotic. 
This shisa is sitting inside a modified closet. The huge jar reminds me of Joseon white porcelain and it’s got a different appearance than normal biscuit fired Yachimun (Okinawan pottery).
“When I was in college, I was impressed with the cobalt blue patterns on old pottery for its extreme beauty and the aggressiveness of each shape,” Makiya said. Since then, he has been mesmerized with old Okinawan pottery. One inspiration for his style came when he saw Joseon white porcelain at an Asian porcelain art museum in Osaka.
During the Ryukyu Kingdom period, Okinawan pottery seemed to have been influenced by East Asian traditions, including Korea and South China but still developed in its own way. 
As Makiya works his potter’s wheel, romantic thoughts of old Ryukyu pottery and Asian pottery traditions may be turning in his imagination at the same time. 
This photo shows Makiya’s gallery/home. He’s been creating ceramics for 25 year. The main reason that he moved to this area three years ago was that he wanted to concentrate on his work in a quiet environment. This stoic artist would rather make 10 great ten pieces than 100 mediocre ones. That’s the best way I can describe his work philosophy.
Makiya is also trying to replicate old style Okinawan pottery. “How on the earth did those old people make these?” he asks. “I try to mimic them but the more I try, the more the old techniques impress me.”
Makiya and Masami, his wife, run Toubou Makiya. Their pleasant, calm personalities are reflected on their wares.
They take care even with small details. Yachimun pottery at Toubou Makiya retains the flavor of the “Toukun” the style of the Ryukyu Kingdom era and the also modern “New Ryukyu”. Both sophisticated styles go well with Japanese or Western lifestyles.
Toubou Makiya
Address: 447 Yabiku, Sashiki, Nanjo City
Tel: 098-947-1320
Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: Irregularly 
*Please call us if you would like to see our gallery
Okinawa CLIP photo writer: Naoko Tsuruta