Viewing page 1 of 8

This transcription has been completed. Contact us with corrections.

Daniel Belgrad
Conversation with Toshiko Takaezu
Quakertown, NJ
August 10, 1993

D: You met Bernard Leach at Cranbrook? Is that when he was travelling in 1952 or 3?

T: That's right.

D: With Hamada and Yanagi? Were you already interested in Japanese pottery at that time?

T: Oh, yes. Because I was at the university of Hawaii, and our book -- our Bible, it seems -- was Bernard Leach's Potter's Book, and we read it, and we practiced it in some ways, and used some of the material that we had in the book. So I was aware of that, and it was very nice meeting them. Because I met Hamada later, when I went to Japan, again, and Yangi the same thing.

D: Was that much later?

T: That was in 1955-56.

D: Oh, so you went after you finished at Cranbrook.

T: And I taught at the University of Wisconsin for one year. And I decided at that time that there were a few things that I really wanted to know about my heritage in some ways. And going to Japan was one way, not only of learning how to do pottery, which was one of the things I wanted to do. That was not the first idea, it was just that being with potters you can talk to them. And all communication would be somehthing that was part of our medium. Communication, other things would happen. That's what I was interested in.

And also at the time, during the '50s, of course, people were just getting Zen, so we -- I read Alan Watts books, I think.

D: Oh, really?

T: Oh, no, I met Daisetz Suzuki also in Hawaii Didn't read about his books, so you know, I couldn't ask him all kinds of good questions, but I was interested.

But at the time I didn't like the word Zen,  because everybody was saying "Zen: I'll sleep on the floor and take my shoes off," seems like that was Zen, and I felt that they weren't really -- the real meaning of Zen was not there.

D: That was in the Fifties?

T: Fifties and Sixties -- Sixties mostly. But I was interested in being at the Zen monastery. There was a place in Kyoto, Daitokuju.

D: Yeah, I went there.