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The Fukushima potter is going home ten years after the disaster

Dust and debris is most of what is left of Toshiharu Onoda’s old pottery studio in Fukushima, Japan. Onoda is a thirteenth generation Oborisoma-yaki potter known for the high-pitched chant that is produced when the ovens are opened and the cracks in the glazing. On March 11, 2011, Onoda had just finished charging his furnace when a massive earthquake erupted near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and changed his life forever. “The stove in front of me started to rattle and everything inside suddenly shattered on the floor when the earthquake happened. It was the first time I had such a terrible experience. I couldn’t move at all even when I tried to run away. “In a matter of hours, Onoda and about two dozen other potters had to evacuate and leave their lifework behind when nuclear reactor buildings exploded and emitted radiation over the area where their families had lived and worked for over 300 years. Ten years later, Onoda is in the Namie City in Fukushima has returned. But according to Onoda, everything about the city – and its pottery – has changed. Half of his pottery colleagues have quit, and around 80% of the city is left – limits due to high radiation, including the clay and glaze who once gave their goods a characteristic blue-green sheen can no longer be collected and processed there. Despite all the losses he has suffered, Onoda continued forging. “I. I want to pass Oborisoma-yaki, a tradition with more than 300 years of history, on to the next generations. That is my goal. I hope that as many people as possible can continue it. “Onoda still hopes to reopen his own studio one day in Namie. But for now, he and Namie’s other remaining potters will be working in a new showroom that will open soon. There they will sell their wares, teach and teach the spirit of.” Keeping Oborisoma-yaki alive.

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