Kondo Yuzo (近藤悠三)

Yuzo KONDO (February 8, 1902 - February 25, 1985) was a Japanese potter. He was designated a Living National Treasure in 1977. His real name was 近藤雄三 (read Yuzo KONDO with different kanji character).

Brief Personal History

He was from Shimizuderashita, Kyoto City. He was born the third son of Shohei (father) and Chizuru (mother). His grandfather, Shoshin, was samurai serving Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

In 1914, he entered Kyoto Ceramic Experimental Station Attached Training Center. After graduating in 1917, he was hired as an assistant at the station. At the time, Kanjiro KAWAI and Shoji HAMADA graduated from Tokyo Higher Technical School and were researching ceramics, and Kondo learned ceramics engineering from Hamada.

In 1921, he quit the experimental station and became an assistant to Kenkichi TOMIMOTO, who had just returned from England and opened a kiln in Yamato. He learned about groundwork and glaze technology as well as the spirit of ceramics art from Tomimoto.

After returning to Kyoto in 1924, he studied sketches and western style painting at Kansai Art Academy and Western Art Research Institute, and established a kiln at Kiyomizu Shindo Ishidanshita. He was also presenting works of art of under glazed cobalt blue technique as well works using yuurikou and inlay techniques.

In 1926, he married Mitsuko NAKAJIMA at the age of 24.

In 1928, he won a prize at the 9th Japan Art Academy Exhibition (Teiten) for the first time, thereafter winning 13 consecutive times. He also presented many works at Bunten and other exhibitions. In 1950, he served as a judge at the 6th Nitten Exhibition. In 1955, he rejoined Nihon Kogeikai (the Japan Art Crafts Association).
In 1956, he received the gold award for Japanese Traditional Crafts at the 3rd Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition with his 'Sansui Dyed Pot.'

He studied Shino ware in Tajimi City, Gifu Prefecture in 1956. Thereafter, he concentrated on the creation of works using glazed cobalt blue. He expressed the dark and light with the brush technique based on tsuketate and gradation, presenting paintings like the motifs of pomegranates and plums. After 1960, he started using techniques to add red and gold on Gosu sometsuke, establishing his own style.

He served as the executive director of the Nihon Kogeikai and chairman of the Ceramics Division. He taught as the assistant professor and professor in the Ceramics Arts Department, Kyoto City University of Fine Arts from 1953, became the professor in 1956, and held the office of chancellor in October 1965.

He received the Shiju Hosho (medal of honor with purple ribbon) in 1970, the Zui Hosho (Orders of the Sacred Treasure) and the Kyoto City Cultural Order Award in 1973. On April 25, 1977, he was designated as an important intangible cultural heritage (Living National Treasure) as the holder of 'sometsuke' skills. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1980.

He died in 1985.