The business specialises in ceramics from Tajimi, a small town in the Gifu Prefecture. The region has been producing sake bottles, bowls, teapots and other pottery for more than 1000 years.
The business was originally an offshoot of Kazari, a Japanese furniture importer. Peter Longmore came across it in the late-’80s, while searching for suppliers at his Japanese-themed shop in Hobart. Sensing the brand’s potential, he bought it and moved to Melbourne.
From an initial shop in South Yarra, he went on to open 17 franchises across Australia and New Zealand. Those days are over, though. With the help of online sales, Made in Japan gets by with three stores in Melbourne and a distribution centre in Gifu run by Longmore’s son Josh.
The on-ground presence keeps the three stores stocked with beautiful pieces. Inky-black dinner plates. Metallic-look platters. Eggshell-blue bowls. Complete tea sets glazed with intricate blossoms. Dozens and dozens of mottled, lopsided vessels for holding pens, paperclips, or whatever else you can think of. Take your time – there’s a lot to look at.