Opportunities for Artists in Arita Japan

The town of Arita is located in Kyushu in the southwestern part of Japan. It has been producing porcelain since the beginning of the sixteenth century, when the immigrant Korean Lee San-Pyeong (Ri Sanbei) discovered a kaolin deposit in Izumiyama Mountain and started the production of the first Japanese porcelain. The East India Company (VOC) began importing Arita porcelain from the seventeenth century through the port of Imari. From that time various styles of porcelain produced in Arita became known in Europe as Ko-Imari, Kakiemon, Kinrande and Sometsuke, among others.

In the year 2016 Arita celebrates 400 years of porcelain production in Japan. Throughout the year various events will take place,as well as a parallel cultural program. Among these projects a highlight will be the Art Residency at Happy Luck- Kiln Lab, a pioneering venture in the city. It occupies an area in the porcelain factory Kouraku Gama, which has a 150 year history.

The artist Shin Koyama, together with the Director of Kouraku Gama, Mr. Takanobu Tokunaga started planning the residency program in 2013 and since then Happy Lucky has been receiving artists and designers of different nationalities who use the factory facilities to develop their artwork as well as the small-scale production of utilitarian or decorative objects. Happy Lucky is partnered with various institutions, private studios and factories in Arita, which extends the possibilities and opportunities for resident artists, who in addition to the production of their work can also research and study Japanese porcelain in depth. The residency workshop is equipped with pottery wheel, press mold slip cast machine, jigger machine, plaster mold studio, design studio, biscuit gas kiln, high temperature gas kiln, and an over glaze decoration electric kiln. It is also possible to use stoneware in a special area of the studio made for this purpose.

The dormitory space or Guest Room is located approximately 2 minutes from the studio and factory.It consists of four single bedrooms and a double bedroom. The house has two restrooms and a bathroom equipped with tub and shower, a laundry, kitchen and lounge. All of these facilities are shared with other resident artists. The studio and the residence are surrounded by mountains, farmland and natural forest. The region around Arita is famous for pure mountain water, green tea, and fresh local produce, including fish, rice, Saga beef and sake.

To know more details about the Residency Program, or about Arita, or to make a registration for the residency program, please get in touch via e-mail or visit the page of Happy Lucky Site Arita on Facebook.

About the costs: Happy Lucky accepts proposals from residents throughout the year, the monthly amount is 3,000 Australian Dollars (250,000 Japanese Yen), including single room, use of the Atelier and factory facilities, 40 kg of porcelain clay, biscuit firing, high temperature and over glaze decoration firing. The glazes offered are the standard ones used by the factory, however the artist might wish to buy other glazes in local art supply stores or to make his or her own glazes using local materials. The cost mentioned above does not include transportation, meals or any extra expenses incurred by the resident for his or her particular project.


Our Studio Coordinator Sebastiao Pimenta is a Brazilian potter and has been a staff member at Kouraku Gama factory since July 2013. In 2011 he worked at Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute in Jingdezhen, China as Studio Director. He is fluent in Japanese, English, Spanish  and Portuguese and has a wide knowledge of Asian ceramics and porcelain.