Yanagi Sōetsu (March 21, 1889 – May 3, 1961), was a Japanese philosopher and founder of the mingei (folk craft) movement in Japan in the late 1920s and 1930s. He led the Japanese society to promote mingei, which means "hand-crafted art of ordinary people". He discovered beauty in everyday ordinary and utilitarian objects created by nameless and unknown craftsmen. Here are the common criteria for being regarded as mingei:
1) made by anonymous crafts people
2) produced by hand in quantity
4) used by the masses
5) functional in daily life
6) representative of the region in which it was produced
Although pottery and porcelain culture didn't start in Japan in human history but it does develop into a unique style under the influences of Zen Buddhism and the special tea ceremony culture. Due to the mingei movement, hundreds of different wares and styles developed in different regions in Japan. Famous styles include Raku ware (a well popular practiced style all over Japan), Koishiwara ware (originated from Korea and developed broadly after the mingei movement), Onta ware (traditional style produced without electricity), Seto ware (most produced pottery in Japan), Shigaraki ware (one of the oldest styles) and more.
Another benefit of the mingei movement is all those beautiful and creative styles get the opportunity to be revealed in daily dinning ware, tea pots, sake cups, and other utensils or vessels that are commonly used by the mass people, not just rich or special groups in Japan. They also become popular souvenirs and gifts for foreign visitors to purchase.