KITAOJI Rosanjin had great talents in pottery, calligraphy and painting, and was also well known as a gourmet. Rosanjin, who was a great artist and gourmet and was introduced in the popular comic "OISHINBO", visited Ishikawa Prefecture several times during the period of Taisho and Showa. Rosanjin, who was very much interested in food and container, visited Ishikawa because there were rich culture of food and tradition.
Insight to Food Polished in Ishikawa
Rosanjin first visited Ishikawa in 1915 (year of Taisho 4). Rosanjin was 32 years old. HOSONO Endai was a wealthy man in Kanazawa and found talents of Rosanjin who was then on travel and temporarily staying at a house of a rich businessman. Endai invited Rosanjin to his house. He also took Rosanjin to a lot of places. One of the places they visited was "Yamanoo" hotel in Kanazawa. Rosanjin visited "Yamanoo" often, and learnt cooking, harmony of pottery and foods, and hospitality from OTA Takichi, master of "Yamanoo".
Rosanjin's Pottery
Kept at "Yamanoo
Arts and crafts and tea ceremony have flourished in Ishikawa since Edo Period. Therefore, Takichi did not use ready-made containers, such as dishes and bowls, but placed order for potter and lacquer painter to make them. In latter years, Rosanjin said, "container is cloth of food", and certainly he learnt that real gourmet shall be made only after the harmony between containers and foods is achieved.

Serve Grilled Eggplants Utilizing
Real Tastes of Ingredients
on Rosanjin's Container

One philosophy of Rosanjin's cooking is to
"utilize real tastes of ingredients".
Rosanjin preferred to enjoy the tastes of the seasonal ingredients without spending too much time and effort to cooking. Rosanjin enjoyed visiting Ishikawa, which was endowed with rich nature and seasonal foods, and was surrounded by Sea of Japan and had Hakusan Mountains behind. One episode is left at "Matsumoto", which is another hotel in Kanazawa like "Yamanoo". It describes Rosanjin's attitude to food ingredients. Rosanjin ordered grilled eggplant at "Matsumoto". When the food is brought to him, he yelled, "This isn't grilled eggplant" at a proprietress. The Proprietress had cut the surface of eggplant so that it was easy to eat, but Rosanjin wanted the eggplant without cut so that
The Remains of Rosanjin's Temporary
Abode" is still Left at Yoshinoya
tastes of the eggplant could be contained,and he could enjoy the natural taste of the ingredients. Rosanjin must have wanted to enjoy the natural taste of food in Ishikawa because he knew the real taste of food ingredients.

Enjoyed the taste of Kuchiko and Koubako Crab
HOSONO Endai took Rosanjin to Yamashiro hot springs, where a lot of people who enjoyed tea ceremony, calligraphy, antiques, and elegance gathered. Hotel nameplates that Rosanjin craved during his staying and containers that he presented instead of hotel charge still remain at those hotels, such as "Yoshinoya(The end of operating on April 25, 2006) ", "Shiroganeya", and "Araya". A villa of Yoshinoya where Rosanjin stayed when visiting Yamashiro for the first time still remains as it was in the past, and now is called "The Remains of Rosanjin's Temporary Abode". Rosanjin enjoyed the taste of Koubako Crab, Ama-ebi, kuchiko, duck, and wild hog for the first time, when staying in Yamashiro. Also, he was impressed by the

taste of pickled radish (takuan) in Yamashiro, and in the latter years he ordered pickled radish from Yamashiro and served at his restaurant Hoshigaoka-Saryo. One of his most favorites in Ishikawa was kuchiko, and he ordered kuchiko from Nanao and Anamizu. Rosanjin praised those traditional foods and said, "Its flavors of freshness reminds me of a beautiful French lady. They are somewhat like fleshy and smell warm". Both drinkers and non-drinkers would certainly be impressed with its taste. He highly praised traditional foods in Ishikawa and said, "Those who taste kuchiko for the first time hardly recognize what it is,"

Picture Dishes Left at "Araya" were Made in the Early Years of Rosanjin

It was in 1915 (the year of Taisho 4) when Rosanjin first visited the First SUDA Seika of Kutaniyaki pottery in Yamashiro. Pottery making was something new and impressive to Rosanjin. He, for the first time, painted on Kutaniyaki pottery, and became interested in pottery. It was the beginning for a potter Rosanjin. He argued, "Food is not just to taste by tongue. If containers are dull, then the food itself would become dull." According to one story, Rosanjin was envy of Endai, who was enjoying his food, not with ready-made pottery, but with his own pottery, and began pottery making. Rosanjin, in his latter years, tried to make different types of pottery, such as Oribeyaki, Setoyaki, and Bizenyaki, and made a profound study of pottery. And Yamashiro was really the beginning. Signature of Rosanjin Underneath the
PotteryRosanjin visited Yamashiro often in winter. He used a lot of potteries made at
Seika's kiln at his restaurant, Hoshigaoka-Saryo. In 1927 (the year of Showa 2), when the First Seika passed away, Rosanjin, who had hardly ever praised others, grieved and praised Seika by saying "The best technician in the field of pottery. Beautiful and not fluffy, sober and not light, able man with compassion, spiritual, individualistic." Rosanjin must have been strongly influenced by Seika's techniques. Pottery made by Rosanjin is often evaluated "handy and making foods look beautiful". Nowadays, Rosanjin's pottery is often viewed as artistic objects, but Rosanjin believed pottery is valuable when used. Also, he realized a crucial relationship between pottery and foods. He believed that tastes of foods became better when they are served with right pottery. Rosanjin sought beauty and gourmet, and lived his life freely. His talent must have been flourished by the various factors such as, the environment that created Kutaniyaki, Wajimanuri, Kanazawa Lacquer Ware and other traditional crafts, seasonal food ingredients, and culture that maintained harmony among them.
Funeral Address from Rosanjin
to the First Seika
KITAOJI Rosanjin (1883-1959)
Potter, calligrapher, real name is Fusajiro. Born in Kyoto, in 1883 (the year of Meiji 16), March 23. Opened paint shop specialized in western style billboard. In 1904 (the year of Meiji 37), moved to Tokyo, and in November of the same year, submitted a calligraphy to Japanese Art Exhibition and received the first prize. Worked extensively in the field of calligraphy and began to learn carving when he was 29 years old. Then began to work on pottery, and in 1919 opened antique art shop. In the next year, established private "Gourmet Club". In 1925, became a chief cook and an advisor for Hoshigaoka-Saryo in Kojimachi, Tokyo, and produced foods and pottery. Rosanjin, who exhibited his unique talents in the field of calligraphy and pottery, explored the new ground of art and design as a non-professional potter. He opened a kiln in Yamasaki, Kitakamakura in 1926, and named it Hoshigaoka-gama. Passed away on December 21, in 1959 (the year of Showa 34).
Copyright Ishikawa Prefecture JAPAN 1997-2002