We now have a beautiful set of very interesting Japanese ceramics. Based on some of the marks, at least some of the dishes and cups were made during the Allied occupation of Japan during World War II. We are guessing this based on the “MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN” marks on the bottom of some of the pieces.
Backing up a bit, we really lucked into this set of tableware. A friend of my parents, Lynne, originally acquired these when she was living in Okinawa. In a stroke of luck for us, she decided to give them away after having them for some time. Lynne offered them to us after a suggestion from my mother (hey mom!).
There are six different marks by my count on the bottom of the various pieces. There is also quite the range in how the patterns look. Though nearly identical, some of them are more blue along with other minor differences. I don’t know if they were all made at the same time. If they were, I don’t know why they all had a range of different marks.
It is possible they are made by the Morimura Brothers under the Noritake name (or at least offered in their catalog and sporting their marks). Based on the “MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN” mark, they may have been made from 1948 to 1952.
The history of this pattern and set is fairly unclear to me. There is ambiguity of who made them and when. For example, in this document, the author doesn’t see the qualities of these matching Noritake wares.
The pattern is also unusual. The imagery of the phoenix and this style doesn’t seem quite like other Japanese works of that time.
The set itself is quite popular. It’s not too hard to find various pieces on Etsy or Ebay.
Though these remain somewhat mysterious to us, we are very thankful for the gift. Thank you, Lynne!