JICON is a porcelain brand launched originally by Touetsugama kiln together with a Japanese designer, OJI Masanori.
The founder of the JICON brand, IMAMURA Hajime, later in 2014 became independent as IMAMURA Porcelain.
IMAMURA Porcelain makes porcelains for daily life with their traditional white porcelain techniques using Amakusa Touseki (porcelain stone).
The brand name means "porcelain (JI) in modern times (CON)." In the Buddhist words, JICON means "seize the day." It also denotes "porcelain (JI) created by the house of IMAMURA" of the Touetsugama kiln, founded 350 years ago. (Note that "IMA" means "modern times" in Japanese and can be paraphrased as "CON.")
The Touetsugama kiln originated in Mikawachi of Sasebo City in Nagasaki prefecture as a house kiln under the patronage of the Hirado clan. The kiln was redeployed to Arita in Saga prefecture by IMAMURA Shikao XII for its expansion and is currently succeeded by IMAMURA Kenichi XIV.
JICON uses its unique blends of porcelain stones and glazes. Traditionally in Arita, only pure white porcelain stones have been treasured as materials as they produce porcelain wares without the traces of pigments on the surface. And, at the same time, such materials provide good workability for craftsmen. However, the local resources have been almost depleted as porcelain stones with pigments or colored tones are discarded. In Arita, you can actually visit to see mining hills of porcelain stone with brownish contents exposed in the air that have been abandoned as no more pure white ones are available.
In ecological point of view, these "lesser" materials should not be waisted but should be given a new life, thought Mr. IMAMURA of JICON together with the designer, OJI Masanori. JICON sourced materials from multiple locations and tried to come up with the best blend to match their ideals. This was a time-consuming, tough project as such materials are often with less workability, and in order to overcome the difficulty, they also needed to formulate the best conditions to kiln their works with unusual blends of porcelain stones. In the end, they found that their works should be kilned at a much higher temperature than in the conventional method. And, it also required a special blend of glazes which makes it possible to attain the ideal look and texture they envisioned.
The results are JICON's unique, off-white porcelain wares with matte texture. The products are tougher, heavier, and harder. Although they sometimes indicate the traces of pigments on the surface, which actually are oxidized iron particles in the porcelain stones. JICON thinks the traces of pigments or colored tones are not something to be avoided but rather cherished.