History of Okura Art China
Okura Art China was established in 1919 by Magobei Okura and his son, Kazuchika, to realize their goal of "creating the finest chinaware.” The company has since strived to produce the finest artistic chinaware. Today, "Sevres blue and Okura white" are judged to be of the highest quality available in Japan. With its "white, hard, and smooth" porcelain, Okura has enjoyed a reputation as Japan's premiere chinaware maker. The company is a member of Morimura Group, along with other ceramic-related companies such as Noritake, TOTO, NGK, and NTK.
- Showcased a dinnerware set and was awarded the first prize at a world fair to celebrate America's 150th anniversary of independence
- Showcased a candy bowl and was awarded an honor prize at the International Exposition in Paris
- Produced dinnerware sets to celebrate the marriage of the Imperial Princess Teru
- Produced an etched dinnerware set with a white birch motif in gold and platinum for the Crown Princess
- Produced a formal etched dinnerware set with paulownia and chrysanthemum designs in gold and platinum for the Imperial Palace
- Produced dinnerware sets for Japan's State Guesthouse (Akasaka Geihinkan)
- Created a series of plates with designs of wild flowers in Nasu (to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Showa Emperor)
- Launched the first Christmas memorial plate
- Produced a dinnerware set to celebrate the marriage of the Imperial Prince Hiro
- Held Okura Art China exhibitions at major department stores all around Japan to celebrate its 80th anniversary
- Produced a dinnerware set with gold etching and cobalt blue iris designs for Prince Akishino
- Launched "Okura Collectors Club"
- Produced dinnerware sets for Japan's State Guesthouse (Kyoto Geihinkan)
- Produced a Bonbonniere commemorating the marriage of Princess Sayako
- Produced the official dinnerware sets for the 2008 G8 "Hokkaido Toyako Summit"
- Produced dinnerware sets commemorating the Emperor Akihito's 20th year anniversary of the succession to the throne and 50th wedding anniversary with Empress Michiko
- Produced a Bonbonniere for Prince Hisahito
Okura Art China has delivered various products to the Imperial Family and its relatives. Our tableware has added grace and color to the events which mark the important stages of their lives. Many of our products are also used at Japan's State Guesthouses in Akasaka and Kyoto. The former has a total of 4,820 pieces, which took more than 2 years to create and deliver. The latter has received as many as 7,770 pieces that are suitable for welcoming state dignitaries from around the world.
Since its establishment, Okura Art China has produced masterpieces based on its corporate philosophy of producing the finest chinaware. One such masterpiece, created in its earliest days, is the "Thin Carved Phoenix Bowl." In order to create pure white porcelain, a great deal of high-quality kaolin is used in our products. Okura has also developed excellent techniques which have contributed to the creation of chefs-d'oeurve. Glost firing at an exceptionally high temperature of 1460C is an example of one such technique.
Some of Okura Art China's products are embossed with designs in gold. Designs in relief are stamped onto the surface of a soft ceramic piece by pressing it with a roller prior to its first firing. Glaze is then applied to the piece to cover the relief before being put back into the kiln. After being fired, gold is applied on the designs and the piece is fired for a third time. As this ornamental technique is extremely delicate and complex, it requires a great deal of skill.
Okura Art China has developed various new techniques and has sought to realize unique beauty to "make the finest works of art" based on the dream of Magobei Okura, the founder of the company. One such technique is lacquering which brings out deep color and luster to the dinnerware. Powder paint is sprinkled onto the surface of a piece after being lacquered and it is rubbed delicately with a piece of cotton cloth. Lacquering is Okura Art China's distinctive technique that is highly praised around the world.
Flames in the kiln bring out mysterious colors in Okura Art China's chinaware. Cobalt blue patterns are painted on already-fired white cups, and then fired again at a high temperature of 1460C. In the kiln, the cobalt blue paint blends smoothly with the overglaze which softens the finish and adds beautiful depth to the design. The handles and the edges are hand painted in gold, adding beautiful sparkle to white porcelain cups.
Okura Art China’s cups and plates are hand-painted based on the delicate techniques of Japanese-style painting which allows artists to draw designs in various tones and colors. You can almost smell the sweet scent of fresh flowers in bloom. The minute brushwork will take your breath away. Okura’s handpicked first-class artists take great care in creating and adding artistic value to their designs.