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Japanese Porcelain Marks

Koransha and Fukagawa Seiji

Fukagawa is a family, a brand name, a place and nowadays a porcelain factory in the Arita region. Its history goes back to the seventeenth century. Fukagawa is thus a part but not all of Arita.

Its history starts with Ezaiemon Fukagawa who in 1856 became head of his family's porcelain business and in 1875 founded Koransha (The Company of the Scented Orchid) in Arita, Japan, to produce tableware for export.

In 1894 the modern Fukagawa company was founded by Chuji Fukagawa, with the Fukagawa trade mark of Mount Fuji and a stream, as its trade mark.

In the Paris International Exposition in 1900 Chuji Fukagawa won the medaille d'or with a large Flower Vase. Among many famous artists Kinsaku Ide, shape designer, and the sculptor Toshi Ninomiya could be noted as having taken part in producing the Paris Expo 1900 prize-winning vase.

Similarities in style with Hirado can be seen in some of the early (late Meiji period) Fukagawa pieces, but the Iro-nabeshima style (decoration in enamels such as the Ko-Imari style) is more common.

Not all Fukagawa pieces were marked with the Red Orchid mark, or Mount Fuji with a Stream. Some were simply written in red, but also in blue and could be marked with the character for sei or tsukuru, both meaning made. The calligraphy was widely varied. Some were very artistic with flair while some were hurried and simple.

The Fukagawa company has served as purveyor for the Japanese Imperial Household since 1910 and only produces what we mean by white true high temperature porcelain.

Jan-Erik Nilsson

Koransha - Ko Ran Sha - The Scented Orchid Company
in Meiji 8th (1875) the porcelain potter and business man Ezaiemon Fukagawa (1833-1889), Fukaumi Suminosuke & his brother Takeji, Tsuji Katsuzo and Tezuka Kamenosuke founded a company named Scented Orchid Company or 'Koransha' and started to produce porcelain for export to Europe and America. In 1879, Fukaumi and other members left the company and Koransha was reestablished by Eizaemon alone. After his death in 1889, his oldest son, Yotaro succeeded the company while his second son, Fukagawa Chuji started the Fukagawa Porcelain Company. The orchid mark seems to have been used into modern times.
1466. Mark: Fukagawa tsukuru, The characters read from top down Fukagawa tsukuru which means "made by Fukagawa". Late 19th century.

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370. Mark: Nichi Hi Yama Fukagawa tsukuru, late 19th century. This mark was used by Koransha before the company divided and Fukagawa Seiji was established in 1894. The three characters on the right hand side read Nichi, Hi, Yama from top to bottom. Nichi refers to Nippon (Japan). Hi refers to Hizen (Present day Saga Prefecture). Yama refers to Arita Sarayama (the location of the kiln). The characters on the left read Fukagawa tsukuru which means "made by Fukagawa".
764. Fukagawa tsukuru - "Made by Fukagawa". The Fukagawa / Koransha company (The Company of the Scented Orchid) was founded by Ezaiemon Fukagawa to produce table wares for export. This type of porcelain wares was made by the Fukagawa Koransha potters of Arita around 1875 or later.

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1390. Fukagawa sei - "Made by Fukagawa". An unusual mark by the combination of Fukagawa sei and the orchid rather than mount Fuji and th stream. The marks signifies the Fukagawa/Koransha company (The Company of the Scented Orchid) that was founded by Ezaiemon Fukagawa to produce table wares for export. This type of porcelain wares was originally made by the Fukagawa Koransha potters of Arita around 1875. From the looks of this vase a likely date seems to be around the first decades of the 20th century.

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737. Orchid mark, signifying the Fukagawa Koransha porcelain factory. Modern ware.

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944. Mark: Koransha, with impressed Fukagawa Orchid mark. Written in katagana, right to left. A company/kiln still producing high quality porcelain, from Arita in western Japan. Tentative date; Mid to late 19th century.

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1135. Mark: Koransha, with impressed Fukagawa Orchid mark. Written in katagana, right to left. A company/kiln still producing high quality porcelain, from Arita in western Japan. Tentative date; Mid to late 19th century.

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Fukagawa Seiji (Fukagawa Porcelain Company)
Fukagawa Seiji company was founded by Fukagawa Chuji (1871-1934) who was the second oldest son of Fukagawa Eizaemon. The company exported a porcelain ware to Europe and America that was highly prized through the world fairs. The mark was that of the name of the company under Mt. Fuji and a Stream or only the Mt. Fuji.
> 409. Fukagawa. "Fuka gawa sei" - Made by Fukagawa. This mark Fukagawa-sei was used ca. 1900 - 1920.
923. Mark: Fukagawa Iroe Saiji, Meaning; "Iro" means color, "e" means painting/drawing, "sai" means colorful, "ji" means ceramics/porcelain. All in all the marks translates to "Fukagawa colored decoration".

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Seiji Kaisha - The Pure Water Company - 1879-1897
In 1879 Seiji Kaisha or the Pure Water Company, was founded by the original four members of Koransha; Tezuka Kamenosuke, Tsujii Katsuzo, Fukaumi Suminosuke and his brother, Takeji in Arita, who were at one time associated with Koransha or, The Scented Orchid Porcelain Company. The Seiji Kaisha Company with a modern factory produced highly competitive porcelain and dinner wares for the Western market, same as Koransha. The commonly found information that the company should have only been in business for 4 years (1879-1883) has been countered in modern Japanese texts. The company did experience difficulties after Fukaumi's death, and also another member, Tsuji's resignment. The factory was however active for almost two decades or until around 1897, after which the impressed mark on blanks still may have lingered for several years. Seiji Kaisha marks on porcelain occurs at least as late as Meiji 38 (1905).
1180. Plate. Mark: Sei Ji Kai Sha - (Pure Water Company) 1879-c. 1897.

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1179. Plate. Mark: Sei Ji Kai Sha - (Pure Water Company) 1879-c. 1897.

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1181. Plate. Mark: Sei Ji Kai Sha - (Pure Water Company) 1879-c. 1897.

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1182. Plate. Mark: Sei Ji Kai Sha - (Pure Water Company) 1879-c. 1897.

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RECENT ADDITION
1280. Plate. Mark: Tsukuru "make", mark of Fukagawa immediately after WWII, around 1945-50

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The gotheborg.com Japanese marks page was originally initiated by a donation of marks from the collection of Karl-Hans Schneider, Euskirchen, Germany in July 2000. After sending a considerable number of unknown marks, I never heard from him again. I hope he's ok. It was fun and a beginning. The section have since then been greatly extended by a large number of contributing collectors.