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Sōdeisha (走泥社?, founded 1948 – disbanded 1998) is the name of a movement in modern Japanese ceramics.

Founding and philosophy[edit]

Sodeisha was formed in 1948. Its principal founder was Yagi Kazuo (1918–1979). Its leaders were Yamada Hikaru (born 1924) and Suzuki Osamu (born 1926). Sodeisha was formed in opposition to the Mingei or folk-craft movement that was the dominant ceramic style and philosophy in Japan at the time, exemplified by Shoji Hamada (1894–1978), and also in reaction to the aesthetic of rusticity associated with the tea ceremony inspired Shino and Bizen ceramics of the Momoyama Revival pottery of artists such as Kaneshige Toyo and Arakawa Toyozu. Sodeisha was disbanded in 1988.

In 1948 the Sodeisha artists mailed out postcards with their 'motto' or artistic credo:

"The postwar art world needed the expediency of creating associations in order to escape from personal confusion, but today, finally, that provisional role appears to have ended. The birds of dawn taking flight out of the forest of falsehood now discover their reflections only in the spring of truth. We are united not to provide a ‘warm bed of dreams’, but to come to terms with our existence in broad daylight".

In an article written for The Japan Times, Robert Yellin wrote of the Sodeisha philosophy that:

"They had as their unwritten laws that they would not submit work to official exhibitions, to avoid being judged on others criteria, and not to copy antique wares of the past. That was the basic credo, quite bold and naive. A major hurdle in the beginning, believe it or not, was whether or not the mouth of a work should be closed or not-if left open it gives the feeling of a common vessel, and thus to close it was the only way to have it taken seriously as ceramic sculptural art".[1]


Their work was characterized by biomorphic and slab-built geometric forms. An emphasis on the sculptural as opposed to the functional meant that typically their pieces didn't have holes, or 'mouths', that might allow the work in question to be seen as a vase or pot. In the late 1940s and early 1950s the works of Klee, Miro and Picasso were an influence on members of the group, as were the ceramics produced by Isamu Noguchi in the studio of Rosanjin in 1952.[1]


Two notable artists in the Sodeisha mold are Akiyama Yo (1953- ) and Takiguchi Kazuo (1953- ), both prize-winning ceramists and former students of Yagi Kazuo.


  1. ^ Winther-Tamaki,p130
  • Bert Winther-Tamaki . Yagi Kazuo:The admission of the Nonfunctional Object into the Japanese Pottery World. Journal of Design History, Vol 12 No.2 (1999) pp. 123–141.