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A tall Tokkuri sake flask by Imai Masayuki decorated with a weeping willow (Yanagi) enclosed in the original singed wooden box. It is 17 cm (7 inches) tall and in excellent condition. The base is stamped Kenzan, meaning this was fired at the Nobori-gama climbing kiln in Gifu that he ans eight others established in 1971 following the ban on firing in Kyoto. Realizing the limitations of sharing a kiln with others, he established his own kiln in Seto in 1978, placing this piece between those two dates, and making it a quite rare work.
Imai Masayuki was born in Osaka in 1930, but left that city during the war years to live in his Father’s hometown in Takehara, Hiroshima prefecture. After the war he graduated the industrial High School of Takehara, and moved to Inbe (1949-1953) where he took his first steps on the ceramics path studying Bizen. He eventually apprenticed under Kusube Yaichi in Kyoto, the city he chose to make home. The very next year he was accepted into the Nitten National Exhibition. He has been a long standing and often awarded member of the Nitten, receiving the Hokuto prize there in 1959. He also took the grand prize at the International Biennale of Contemporary Ceramics as well as the prestigious Japan Ceramic Society Award in 1965 and the order of Cultural Merit in 2011. He is mentor and teacher to a new generation of Japanese potters including Ichino Masahiko.