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Born into a Hagi family of doctors, Hamanaka Gesson returned to his family’s village in his teens to begin his career in Japanese ceramics. After apprenticing with Yoshiga Taibi, he built his own kiln in 1969 and later adopted the artistic name Gesson, meaning “moon village.”

Hamanaka believes that local Japanese clays should be used only to create works that reflect that region’s style. In order to maintain the integrity of the works as well as allow for creative freedom, he began experimenting with a mixture of local styles to create his own unique forms and glazes. His experiments with hybrid Hagi works, such as the use of Shigaraki clay and oribe glaze, have earned him worldwide acclaim.