Katō Yasukage was one of the top young ceramic talents in Japan, specializing in the centuries-old traditions of red and white shino and green-copper-glazed oribe wares. Following the sudden deaths of his illustrious father and grandfather, both renowned ceramists, the fifteen-year old was sent by his family to Bizen for several years to study that regional tradition and the art of wood firing. He returned to his home in Gifu after pursuing a course in sculpture at university, and brought with him a fresh approach to his family's classical tradition. Powerful forms, both sculptural and functional, paired with exquisite glazes, are the hallmarks of his oeuvre.
I first met Katō Yasukage (then named Shōji) in 1999 at a small show at Takashimaya Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Astonished at his throwing mastery, especially that of his teabowls, I found his command of glazing and firing techniques to be equally impressive. From that serendipitous encounter grew a lasting relationship that generated three solo exhibitions, two in New York and one, last year, in Santa Fe.
Through the years, I repeatedly visited his studio and home, and in 2009, brought a group of passionate collectors for an unforgettable visit, beautifully orchestrated by his gracious family. Over the years I have been honored to introduce his work to western collectors and museums, several of which now reside in prestigious collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. Through those collections and others around the world, Katō Yasukage's legacy is sure to continue long into the future.
If anyone would care to send a personal note of condolence, the family’s address is:
Mrs. Miho Kato (wife of Yasukage)
1421-6 Kujiri, Izumi-cho
Toki-shi, Gifu 509-5142
-Joan B. Mirviss