I can say it’s my first real love with porcelain. I’ve always liked porcelain, but there’s something about the Jicon products that really puts a smile on my face, every time I use them. And as with most things, the more I hear about the people behind the company, the more I fall in love with these gorgeous products.
JICON means "porcelain (JI) in modern times (CON)." In the Buddhist words, JICON means "seize the day." This porcelain brand was launched by the Touetsugama kiln which was founded 350 years ago, together with Oji Masanori. The founder of the JICON brand, IMAMURA Hajime, later in 2014 became independent as IMAMURA Porcelain. They make porcelains for daily life with their traditional white porcelain techniques using Amakusa Touseki (porcelain stone).
To try and understand the concept behind this brand, I interviewed Mr. Imamura Hajime:
Q. What were your ideas behind entering into a collaboration with Oji Masanori and creating the brand Jicon?
Since 2004 I worked as a factory manager at a kiln in my hometown. We sold products developed together with wholesalers and sold them to wholesalers nationwide. Often we had to produce large quantities of products and sell them as gift sets at a low price. I started having questions about this way of producing, and wanted to make a brand that I can be proud to make even if selling was secondary. I wanted to become a brand that can sell directly, instead of going through wholesalers. During this moment, I met Mr. Oji at a lecture sponsored by a town called Arita where many designers were invited. I had previously made some products by designers and some of them were very innovative and beautiful to look at, but not easy to use. But Oji was different. Oji first showed me his SOJIRUSHI broom. I was almost shocked to see the simple design of the broom to which only an umbrella-like handle was attached. But at the same time I was impressed with the usefulness and wanted to use this broom sincerely. After that Oji showed me his FUTAGAMI designs. Normally brass has a smooth finish but Oji didn’t go through the process and left rough surface which really showed off the charm of the brass. When I learnt this, I thought Oji would be able to design and show off the charm of porcelain. So I contacted Oji.
Q. What personally are your favourite products from Jicon that you use in your every day life?
I love rice bowls and use them every day. The rice bowl is the first item Oji designed with JICON. So many designers and makers make rice bowls and the market is saturated. I was impressed by how Oji tackled this rice bowl and felt his determination as an artist. I still remember how I was impressed. The basic line of soft curve is always beautiful. I love it.
Q. What are your future plans?
I am trying to develop different colours other than white but struggling to get the right colour. My future plan is to make people affiliated with JICON happy with work and happy with life.
*Take a look at our range of Jicon products online. Two Little Piggies - Jicon