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An outcast from the start, Shiho Kanzaki has managed to become a leading figure in the pottery world. In a country where apprenticeshihp is the tradition and the direct path to an eventual career, Shiho Kanzaki has always stood on his own, never doing any formal apprenticeship with anyone. In a world where everybody has their secrets, Shiho Kanzaki doesn't have any secrets : he generously and openly shows everything to everybody. It's for the onlooker to come to his or her own conclusions, and grow from there...

"The Fire Artist" portrays the life of a potter from Shigaraki, Japan, a man who pushes tradition and technique to the limits; "The Fire Artist" shows the life of an exceptional human being who has learned to live creatively, in harmony with the rest of the planet.

Sharing his own kiln in Pensylvania with American artist and art professor, Karl Beamer, Kanzaki now spreads his knowledge and philosophy all over the world. And the world might very well end up being a better place for it.

Director: Claude Gagnon Editor: Takako Miyahara Puroducer:s: Yuri Yoshimura, Samuel Gagnon
Color 52 Minutes / 4 : 3 NTSC / Japanese, English, French Subtitles
Distribution Zuno Films INC. Copyright: Zuno Films 2007 info [!at]

Movie Director Claude Gagnon wrote his message on Shiho Kanzaki's private BBS. I would like to show you his message.
The Fire Artist…
The Fire Artist is, at long last, completed. It was quite a journey. I often wondered
if I would ever see the end of it, if it even made any sense to keep going…
But I’m very happy with the result and I hope that you will enjoy the
documentary about this “strange man”, Shiho Kanzaki, who became one of my
best friends after those many years of shoot.

There were a lot of happy moments, a few hectic ones and some very sad ones as
we lost some dear friends during the course of the shooting… Fortunately, the
movie magic will keep them with us for many years to come. Let’s not forget them…
I am very grateful to our lost ones.

I also have to thank so many people who made all this possible for me. Of course,
I begin with Shiho Kanzaki who was there for me anytime I needed him, never
refusing anything, open to any suggestion or request. His generosity goes way
beyond what can be written here. Kanzaki Sensei and his wonderful wife Keiko
were just amazing, in every respect and I hope to keep them as my friends to the
end of my days…

I have to thank all of you, who gracefully accepted to appear in the movie. I will
not mention everyone by names, but you know that these words are addressed to
you. Each of you, in your own personal way, made all this possible by speaking on
camera, by receiving us in your homes, often feeding us, supporting us emotionally
and even financially in some cases. Really, this movie could have never been made
without all of you who appear in the end credits. Thank you from the bottom of
my heart.

But I couldn’t go without a special mention for Saini San who was extremely
helpful in making all this possible for us. He spoke on camera, let us use his
personnal collection of work from Shiho Kanzaki and went much further than
anyone could imagine in order for us to make this happen. And on top of all this,
he makes the best rice crakers in the world!

This project definitely made me meet a lot of extraordinary people…

I also want to thank Yano san (who does not appear in the film…) for his very
inspiring Shakuhachi albums and his generous collaboration for our film. And please,
allow me to give a special thanks to my producers/wife/son, Yuri and Samuel. At
times when the finances were extremely low, to say the least, they still allowed me
to make my trips everywhere to pursue my dream of making this documentary.
They trusted me a hundred percent, even though the revenue possibilities were
extremely slim. They struggled really hard in order for me to make this film come

And I finish with Takako (“You think my slave”… as Uncle Takuma would say in
KAMATAKI…) who was with me in this adventure from beginning to the end. She
not only shot a good part of the material with me, made several of the interviews,
but she was stuck with 200 hours of material. Editing this type of documentary is
not like editing a feature film or a TV documentary. She hung in there, not only
doing all the physical work, but pushing all my ideas to their limits, improving every
suggestion I would make. Trust me, there is a lot of Miyahira Kun in this

I will conclude by saying that when I first met Shiho Kanzaki, I wasn’t too sure of
the kind of man I had in front of me. When I decided to make the documentary, I
chose not to have a personal opinion. I chose to go out there and watch, and
discover. All of you made me discover my subject. At the start, I had absolutely
no idea where this would lead me and what kind of man would emerge in the end.
Fortunately for all of us, you all made us discover a wonderfully stimulating man,
someone worth knowing.

Love everyone!


Canadian Director Claude Gagnon's Film. DVD, The Fire Artist. A Documentary Film About Shiho Kanzaki.

$50.00 USD
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  • Handmade item
  • Materials: DVD, Documentary, Movie, Claude Gagnon, Shiho Kanzaki, Fire artist, Ceramics and Pottery, Stoneware, Ceramics, Pottery, Shigaraki, Anagama, Japan
  • Feedback: 46 reviews
  • Ships worldwide from Japan