Imaoka Machinao

Machinao was born in 1925 Tokyo. Before and after World War 2 he was an excellent educator. In 1964 he began his pottery career in Kodaira city Tokyo. He started bonsai pottery as a hobby and soon specialized in making small (mame) bonsai pots. His dedication to creating mame bonsai pots lead to the creation of the Imaoka style/technique. He shared this technique in an easy to learn guidebook. It provided instructions on how to create a mini kiln with heat resistant refractory bricks and some other materials. Machinao’s guidebook contributed to the large number of amateurs who started making small bonsai pots. From his Kodaira property he relocated in 1972 to Itou city in the Shizuoka prefecture. He created the “Kamagure-an” (studio) and continued his ambitious projects. The studio closed in 1981.

Imaoka’s style is without restraint and accordingly used a great number of colorful glazes. Glazes seen among his works include cinnabar, celadon, white porcelain, “kairagi” (apricot glaze) and many more. Machinao produced an unheard volume of pots for an amateur. His personal philosophy was “a large quantity of small bonsai pots does not dilute their appeal”.

Translations are Copyright (2/24/2021) by (Paul Stephan)

Reference material: 盆器大図鑑盆栽鉢の集大成