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Kumakura Junkichi

Kumakura Junkichi

Photo: Tamotsu Inoh

bio pt 1

(1920-1985)

KUMAKURA JUNKICHI was a major figure in the world of Japanese sculptural ceramics. He graduated in 1942 from Kyoto Institute of Technology as a design major. From 1946 to 1947, Kumakura, along with Tamura Kōichi (1918-1987), was an assistant to Tomimoto at Shōsai tōen kiln, where he was greatly influenced by the master’s techniques and his concept of the role of ceramist-artist. Not long thereafter, he became a core member of the avant-garde Sōdeisha group of ceramists. Throughout his career, Kumakura was attracted to and inspired by the improvisational character of jazz and its then-marginalized position in the world of music. Equally unusual for the period, much of his work is boldly and explicitly focused on sexuality and eroticism. 

He was awarded the first Japan Ceramic Society Prize in 1954 and soon thereafter he was invited to submit works to innumerable national and international exhibitions including the Brussels World Exposition in 1958, where he took grand prize, and the International Ceramics Exhibition Prague in 1962, where he took silver prize. In 1989 a major retrospective exhibition, Kumakura Junkichi: Organs that Provoke, was held at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. 

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