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About the book
  • Published: 1 July 2017
  • ISBN: 9781568365527
  • Imprint: Kodansha USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 128
  • RRP: $32.99

The Japanese Pottery Handbook


Formats & editions


The Japanese Pottery Handbook, first published by Kodansha in 1979, has become a classic, beloved by anyone interested in pottery for its practical, step-by-step approach, and homespun charm. Now, thirty-five years since its publication, authors Penny Simpson and Lucy Kitto have refreshed their work, expanding and adding to the material, re-designing the pages, and re-drawing many of the delightful illustrations. The book has a cleaner, more modern look, yet retains the simple, friendly, and distinctively Japanese sensibility of the original. In addition to the new layout and drawings, the authors have tweaked the text and expanded several sections (including the discussion of underglazing and overglazing, and the Tea Ceremony and its utensils). There’s also a new page showing different types of brushes; and the Information chapter has been updated to include websites and recent books.


The book is a manual to the way pots are made in Japan, their forms, and their decorations.The authors give a thorough account of both traditional and modern techniques and also describe in detail tools, materials, glazes, and the setup of workshops and kilns. Lucy Kiitto’s sprightly drawings infuse each page with life and clarity. Pottery terms and expressions are listed with their Japanese equivalents, and the new edition keeps the bi-lingual text, making it easier for the exchange of ideas between foreign students studying in Japan and Japanese potters.

  • Pub date: 1 July 2017
  • ISBN: 9781568365527
  • Imprint: Kodansha USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 128
  • RRP: $32.99

Praise for The Japanese Pottery Handbook

“"[The Japanese Pottery Handbook] is not a coffee table publication. It is far more useful than that: it is a very practical guide. . . . The publishers describe the first edition, published thirty-five years ago, as loved for its homespun charm, and it is hard to disagree. It has become a classic. This is a revised edition. . . the original authors have added new sections. . .; they have re-drawn many of their illustrations and added twenty-first century material such as useful web addresses. At the end of the book there is a fascinating list of towns where you will find potters or galleries who welcome visitors. It is very much in the tradition of the hands-on approach which was championed by Bernard Leach after his time spent in Japan. . . . Should you have the opportunity to visit or study in Japan the translations of common pottery terms will be invaluable. If you are unable to do so, this book is the next best thing. . . . I shall keep my copy close by. . . ." – CERAMIC REVIEW”


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