Between 1958 and 1994, Japanese stoneware and ceramics were brought into the United States by the Otagiri Manufacturing Company. Even though Otagiri is the name of a company, the term is often used to describe a style of stoneware that was sold in department stores and souvenir shops on the West Coast. Pieces with Polynesian themes are very popular with collectors.
A group of artists were hired to design and make Otagiri stoneware. Each piece was made and painted by hand. Even though Otagiri started making things in the 1950s, it wasn’t until 1980 that it registered its name as a trademark. Even though the pieces were made and stamped in Japan, the Otagiri trademark was registered in the United States.
A gold and yellow sticker and the words “Otagiri Japan” are signs that an Otagiri is real. In 1994, the company was sold for $3.5 million to Enesco, which is also known for making collectibles. After that, the brand stopped being made. True Otagiri pieces are no longer made, but things that look like them are still called Otagiri pieces. During its time in business, Otagiri also worked as a third-party manufacturer, making things for greeting card companies and the once-popular mall store chain San Francisco Music Box Company.