Though he was raised as a potter’s son, Hayashi Shotaro chose to pursue a life in business after high school. He eventually found a job with a company in Nagoya, but life as a “salary man” did not satisfy him and he returned to his hometown to study pottery under his brother. His innate talent quickly manifested itself: in 1968 he received the highest award at the Gifu Prefectural Art Exhibition and in 1971 he received the Governor’s Award at the Asahi Ceramic Exhibition for his strong yet sensitive blending of tradition and innovation.
Hayashi works in the tradition of Shino ware, first developed in Japan during the Momoyama period in the 16th century. His robust forms are complimented by a softness of surface that invites the viewer to relish the pleasures of the Shino technique. Here, we see the red rusty glaze at the top, its roughness reminiscent of mountain stone. The bottom of the vase is covered by a smooth organic collection of thick white glaze. The juxtaposition of these two textural surfaces—Hayashi’s signature style—enlivens the vessel, encouraging the touch of the viewer. Two ears attached at the top of the body of the piece bring balance to the whole. Here, Hayashi does not seek to recreate the traditional works of the Momoyama period, but rather to build upon that tradition through the use of modern techniques and contemporary materials.
Hayashi’s work stands out from that of other Mino potters for this heavy, thick, cream-like white glaze. In 1993 he received the highest award at the Mino Ceramic Exhibition, and in 2002 he was designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property of Toki City. Like his work, Hayashi himself is a combination of strength and sensitivity. Strongly built and a commanding presence, he is also quiet and almost shy, allowing his works to speak for him.