Continuing from the previous blog, this blog will tell you about the history of Arita porcelain.

In 1829, Naomasa Nabeshima, the 10th lord of the Saga Domain, was struggling to restore the finances of the clan, which was in financial trouble after being severely damaged by the Great Bunsei Fire that occurred at that time. Until the fire broke out, the trend of extravagant luxury that had prevailed in the castle town of Saga was admonished, and a ``thrift ordinance'' was issued to encourage people to try to be frugal and frugal. A simple diet of boiled or grilled fish was the norm, and strict rules governed only cotton clothing. It is said that Naomasa himself ate only one soup and one dish for breakfast and set an example by wearing a washed cotton kimono.

It is said that the thrifty ordinance extended to the Arita Sarayama pottery and Imari merchants. I came to repeat the state of extreme poverty. Among the pottery craftsmen, who make money when they make money, the concept of savings is disdainful, and the idea of ​​having savings to stabilize your life for the next few decades is not common, and everyone is living in luxury. I was doing my best.

However, if the clan's economic situation worsened, it would invite the outflow of craftsmen and the circulation of inferior products, which could damage the Arita brand. It is said that they also had to strive for frugality, savings, and diligence.

At the same time, the sound management of Arita Sarayama's ceramics industry was an essential factor in the economic growth of the Saga domain, and Japan at the time was actively involved in trading with the Netherlands in order to raise funds for this.

At this time, Japan was still officially closed, and trade with the Netherlands was limited to Hisatomi Yojibei and Tashiro Monzaemon, who were ordered by the domain. Although the export policy was implemented under difficult circumstances, the export industry at this time contributed greatly to the financing of the priority issues of economic growth and modernization, as well as to the clan's finances. . In addition, the understanding of European tastes through trading experience around this time led to business opportunities after the Paris Exposition of 1867.

While Naomasa was devoting all his energies to financial reconstruction and modernization, the Edo shogunate concluded the Treaty of Peace and Amity with the United States in 1854 after Perry's arrival (1852). Taking this opportunity, Japan lifted the national isolation that had continued for more than 200 years since 1639, and opened trade and diplomatic relations with England, France, the Netherlands, and Russia. It was in the midst of this upheaval that an invitation to the second Paris World Exposition (held in 1867) arrived from Napoleon III of France through the minister stationed in Japan.

When the invitation was received, the Satsuma clan was apparently promoting its own exhibition at the Paris World Exposition as 'Satsuma-Ryukyu Kingdom' without waiting for an order from the shogunate, and did not immediately respond to participate in the exposition. It seems that the shogunate also decided to participate in the form of the shogunate following the movement of Satsuma.

The Saga clan decided to participate in the Paris Expo in response to the shogunate. For the Saga clan, which had embarked on trade with the Netherlands through Saga Shokai in Nagasaki since the 1840s and had endeavored to understand European tastes, the Expo was a golden opportunity.

Eiichi Shibusawa, one of Japan's leading businessmen, joined the mission as Akitake's attendant. Even habits are recorded in detail.

Among them, Japanese handicrafts such as porcelain and lacquerware, as well as Sukiya-style teahouses where Japanese women served tea, were extremely popular. You may feel that the word “dazzling” is an exaggeration, but the event that was actually held at the World Exposition in Paris seems to back it up.

I would like to tell you about it in the next blog, so please look forward to it.