Aladdin Fine China Made in Occupied Japan

I don’t have a photo, because I didn’t buy this set of plates I came across at the thrift shop. I’m pretty sad about it. It wasn’t a perfect set, but most of the plates were in very good condition, still shiny and not scratched or chipped in visible ways.

While both my parents have been in the US most of their lives, there was one period when they were both in Japan: WW2 and the US occupation. They didn’t know each other and were not in the same area.

Still, I like looking at stuff from the “Made in Occupied Japan” period. For the most part, the products are not as attractive as the export products from the 1960s to the 1990s, which were the peak of Japanese exports. Some objects from Occupied Japan are total, total crap and have disintegrated or are disintegrating. Others are pretty nice, like these “Bamboo” pattern plates from Aladdin Fine China that I saw. Design was pretty good – better than a lot of Occupied Japan product.

Here’s a page of Aladdin products at Replacements.

I also didn’t buy some English china. It was in good, but not great condition, with some crazing. There was also Fiestaware, non-vintage, in excellent condition, and badass Mikasa stoneware brown-matte-yellow-gloss glaze, also in very good condition, that I didn’t get.

I am also starting to pay attention to Chinese china; most of the export product, at least to the US, is pretty bad, but the products for the China or Taiwan markets are sometimes very well made, and attractive. The immigrant community has these items, and I bet some is imported into the Los Angeles area. I saw some Tatung brand rice bowls that were rimmed in gold, with a really sharp design transferred on, and an even, glassy glaze. These may have been made in Taiwan.

I’ve actually seen some unusual, and nice Chinese and Taiwan porcelain in everyday products like mugs. There doesn’t seem to be any market at all for this stuff, at least not right now. The stuff is for Chinese people, not for Americans who want something that seems to be “Chinese”. Some of the more unusual things I’ve seen are motivational products with English words along with the hanzi. There are also Japanese-style designs, but the shapes and sizes are Chinese.  (Chinese rice bowls are rounder, and smaller.) There are even cutesy anime-influenced items that were for the Taiwan market.

The glazes are nice, even and uniform. The graphics are sharp, and the transfer is accurate.  If I can find some space, I may start to buy this stuff. At worst, I could just use them, the way I’ve started using some nice plates I’ve bought.

Even older items have charms similar to the Occupied Japan stuff. It’s not as perfect, and the design might be awkward for the global or western market. I like to imagine an aspirational energy emanating from the objects from the underdog nations.

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