Hanako Nakazato
 #20  November, 2001
 Autumn in Vermont

Dear friends,
Have you metTakashi Nakazato in my web-page?
I have written about him many times here.
He is a world-renowned potter from a most famous family of 14 generations' pottery.
Takashi is working in Colorado, U.S.A., Copenhagen, Denmark, and many places in Japan. His works are somewhat free-style, modern but traditional, unique but basic, simple in principle but at the same time gorgeous with the power of fire.

On a very crisp autumn day, I visited Takashi's wife Kuniko, and had a nice chat. Kuniko has been recovering gradually after a surgery. I am so glad that she is now all right and is stepping out as before. Kuniko showed me something. She was cherishing it in her arms like a baby.
It was a small black notebook album specially made by Hanako, her youngest daughter. This was sent to Kuniko when she was in hospital.
On the top page of the book, the words say "To my dear, dear Mom"
The other pages are all beautiful pictures of Hanako's life in Vermont, friends, and family members with the words to cheer up the sick mother.
Tears were in Kuniko's eyes, and also in mine.
"This book is the most valuable treasure I've ever had.", said Kuniko proudly. I assured her I had never seen such a beautiful book before.

So here, in my November article, I would like to introduce you Hanako Nakazato.
I hope you will enjoy meeting her.

A baby was born in 1972 in Tanegashima Island, south to Kyushu, Japan, when her father Takashi was working there researching and establishing Tanegashima-style pottery.
She was named Hanako, which means 'flower'.
Hanako was the third child.
She was always following her father.
Takashi came back to Karatsu, and opened his new kiln 'Ryuta-gama' in the outskirts called 'Mirukashi' in 1974.
In the Mirukashi Nursery School, Hanako always defeated boys in Sumo games.

"I feel very sorry for Hanako when I recall the memories of her childhood," , says her mother, "because almost everyday she was among the many guests of Takashi, and I was too busy to take good care of her." The reputation of Takashi Nakazato was so high in and out of Japan.The primary school teacher once advised Kuniko that Hanako might be very lonely. Her sister Koh and brother Taki were big enough to find their own friends. Hanako stayed around in the studio.

Takashi was strict and made the children walk to the far school. Hanako walked all the way sweating. But everyday on her way back, Hanako picked some wild flowers for Mom, and ran back while the flowers were still fresh. Takashi did not allow the family to watch television, and every time Hanako asked Dad to buy a TV set, Takashi answered he was too poor. Hanako believed that, and at one Tanabata-day, when people make a romantic wish on bamboo leaves, she wrote "Please make Daddy's dishes sell well!"

Naturally Hanako liked playing with the clay on the kicking wheel. Once a gentleman offered to buy Hanako's tiny little dishes. She thought she could help her poor father with the money, and she screamed in a joy.

She grew up to be a very energetic girl, and a good tennis player. She was the champion at Junior High Leagues, and was selected as a member to go to the States for international games of juniors. This experience made her strongly hope for studying in the States. Her parents knew Hanako was very independent, and that even if they said No Hanako would never give up.

Hanako enjoyed her school life in the States, but her interest in tennis gradually changed the course towards Art.
She entered Smith College, and there she tried some fields of art. But after all she came back to learn pottery from her father, and then from Mr. Malcolm Wright.

Here, let me quote from the brochure of Mr. Wright's kiln 'The turnpike road wood-fired pottery' in Marlboro, Vermont.

Hanako Nakazato  

A native of Karatsu, Japan and educated in the United States, Hanako Nakazato is a fourteenth generation potter who brings to her pottery both an historical perspective and a modern approach. Though the study of fine arts and theater of Smith College and a two-year apprenticeship with her father, Takashi, she has brought to the making of pots a unique and singular vision which incorporates traditional values with contemporary consciousness. Stints at Royal Scandinavia Ltd. in Denmark and Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, CO, have further broadened her outlook. Her work has been included in shows at Gallery Manyodo, Tokyo; Gallery Ichibankan, Fukuoka; Yoyokaku, Karatsu; Gallery Nunokame, Kobe, in Japan; Aspen Art Museum, and Anderson Ranch Arts Center in the United States. Gallery representation includes Sara, New York; Pinch Pottery, Northhampton,MA; Vermont Artisan Designs , Brattleboro, VT; and Michael Verne Collection, Cleveland, OH.

Many years ago Mr. Malcolm Wright apprenticed with Hanako's grandfather, the late Tarouemon Nakazato the 12th, who was a National Treasure of Japan. The long friendship between Mr. Wright and Hanako's father Takashi brought about the wonderful collaboration of the two great potters, and it also made it possible for Hanako to do her pottery at 'the turnpike road'.
Mr. Wright and Takashi Nakazato's collaboration is called 'The bridge of Fire'.
Kuniko hopes Hanako's young inspiration joins and makes this bridge even more harmonious between the East and the West.


     Please enjoy some more photos to show you what kind of girl Hanako Nakazato is.
Hanako believed she was a boy.
At Festival, with Brother Taki.
Clay was her toy.
Tennis is fun.
When old, she thought she would be an old MAN.
A junior high champion.
Before going to the States, she wanted to wear Kimono, as a Japanese girl.

Mr. Malcolm Wright

For flowering Hanako
Kuniko and Takashi Nakazato
Thank you very much for your kind interest in Hanako Nakazato.
I hope you will visit my web-page again next month.
                                                 Harumi Okochi
Information about Takashi Nakazato, his kiln, and his show room.

 Mail to Harumi Okochi