How can we tell the difference between Japanese and Korean ceramics? What is it in Korean ceramics that is absent from Japanese wares? Aloofness, sternness, a certain folk quality...it would take more space than we have there to get to the bottom of it, but pay close attention to the beautiful Korean Moon jars next time you visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, take a second look at the robust collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or browse contemporary pieces at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and you might begin to get a feel for the distinctions between these two great ceramic cultures.
With roots in both Korea and Japan, Korean Japanese artist Kim Hono faces some difficulties in Japan due to a history of discrimination against people of Korean descent in Japanese culture. Still he cannot travel outside of Japan. When Kim graduated from high school, everyone including his teachers insisted that he must choose one of the few jobs deemed acceptable for Korean-Japanese people: construction worker, Pachinko shop owner, plumber, or taxi driver, etc. But Kim knew that he wanted to be a potter. Though others sneered at this idea, he remained firm in his desire to create and to express himself through working in clay. This determined spirit and untrammeled passion shines through in Kim's work. Images from nature boldly adorn his tea bowls, jars, and sculptures, as is clearly visible in his works.