Discover Blue Willow Made in Japan – A Guide to Collecting and Appreciating

Blue Willow is a classic design that has been popular for centuries. The intricate blue and white pattern depicts a romantic tale of a Chinese love story. Originally manufactured in England, Blue Willow has long been sought after by collectors and enthusiasts around the world. However, did you know that there are also Blue Willow pieces made in Japan? In this article, we will explore the history of Blue Willow made in Japan, how to identify it, and how to start your own collection.

The History of Blue Willow Made in Japan

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan was heavily influenced by Western culture. As a result, Japanese pottery manufacturers began to produce ceramic wares with designs that catered to Western tastes. One of the most popular designs was Blue Willow, which took inspiration from the original English design.

Many Japanese manufacturers produced Blue Willow, but the most famous was the Noritake company. Noritake was established in 1904, and quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality ceramics with intricate designs. Their Blue Willow pieces were particularly popular, and are now highly sought after by collectors.

Identifying Blue Willow Made in Japan

Identifying Blue Willow made in Japan can be challenging, as there are many different manufacturers and variations of the design. However, there are a few key characteristics to look out for:

Characteristic Explanation
Maker’s Mark Many Japanese manufacturers included their maker’s mark on their Blue Willow pieces. Look for marks that include the name of the manufacturer, or a symbol that represents them.
Color Japanese Blue Willow pieces often have a deeper blue color than their English counterparts. Additionally, the white areas may appear more translucent.
Quality Japanese Blue Willow pieces are typically of high quality, with intricate designs and attention to detail.

Starting Your Own Blue Willow Collection

Collecting Blue Willow made in Japan can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Determine Your Budget

Blue Willow made in Japan can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars, depending on the rarity and condition of the piece. Determine how much you are willing to spend, and stick to your budget.

2. Start Small

It can be tempting to dive into collecting with both feet, but it’s best to start small. Look for affordable pieces in good condition, and gradually build your collection over time.

3. Learn About the Different Manufacturers

There were many different manufacturers of Blue Willow made in Japan, each with their own unique characteristics. Do some research to learn about the different manufacturers and their products, so you can make informed decisions when purchasing pieces for your collection.

4. Attend Antique Shows and Estate Sales

Antique shows and estate sales can be great places to find Blue Willow made in Japan. Be sure to arrive early and have a plan, as these events can be overwhelming.

5. Display Your Collection

Once you have started your collection, be sure to display it in a way that showcases its beauty. Consider purchasing a display case or shelving unit specifically designed for collectibles.


What is the story behind the Blue Willow design?

The Blue Willow design depicts a romantic tale of a Chinese love story. The story tells of a wealthy Mandarin’s daughter who falls in love with her father’s humble clerk. The father disapproves of their love and forbids their marriage. The couple elopes, but are eventually captured and killed. The gods take pity on them, and transform them into a pair of doves so they can be together forever.

Why is Blue Willow so popular among collectors?

Blue Willow has been a popular design for centuries due to its intricate and romantic story, as well as its timeless beauty. Collectors appreciate Blue Willow made in Japan for its high quality and unique variations of the design.

Can I use Blue Willow made in Japan for daily use?

Yes, Blue Willow made in Japan is often made of durable ceramic material and is safe for daily use. However, it is important to check each piece for cracks or chips before using it, as these imperfections can compromise the safety of the piece.

How do I care for my Blue Willow collection?

Blue Willow made in Japan should be hand washed and dried carefully to avoid chipping or cracking. It is also important to store your collection in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight.

What should I do if I find a piece of Blue Willow made in Japan with damage?

If you find a piece of Blue Willow made in Japan with damage, it is important to handle it carefully to avoid further damage. If the piece is valuable or sentimental, consider taking it to a professional restorer for repair.


Blue Willow made in Japan is a fascinating and beautiful variation of the classic Blue Willow design. Whether you are a seasoned collector or just starting out, it is a wonderful addition to any collection. By following these tips and guidelines, you can start your own Blue Willow collection and appreciate the beauty and history of this timeless design.

Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you again soon for more interesting articles!

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