Born as the second son of Murata Tasaburo and Retsu in 1904, Murata Gen grew up with the earth in a farming family in the Ishikawa prefecture. He studied classical painting in Kyotos until he entered theKansai Bijutsu Gakuin (Kansai Art Academy) in 1922. However, the onset of war shattered his dreams of being a painter. His first encounter with pottery was when he visited a folk craft exhibition showcasingMashiko wares in 1934 in Matsuzakaya, Tokyo. It was then that he had decided to relocate permanently to Mashiko in 1924, studying under Hamada Shoji. He debuted with his first solo exhibition in 1955 atIzumi Kogei craft shop, Tokyo; at last, Murata was consummated as a Mashiko potter. He displayed his honed mastery over traditional glazes such as Nuka (rice-husk), kaki-yu (persimmon), and various iron glazes that are displayed in a scrolling pattern over his functional clay wares.
His functional forms with high shoulders ar e marked with decisive facets and patch marks, while his use of rice husk glazes and multiple iron glazes depict terrestrial scenes and powerful natural phenomena. While Murata’s surface scapes clothe his works with formally organized imagery and soulful rhetoric informed by his individualistic sight which consolidates surface, affect, and representational metaphor, one cannot ignore the materiality of his works. Signs of the object’s making- such as firing marks- to the Wabi-Sabi philosophies that underlie Mingei ware- attest to the wood-fired traditions of Mashiko kilns.