With our summer trip to the Eel River this year and our evening discussion with Mr. Kengo Tatehata, we talked about stone quality from those we have collected in our local rivers.  Tatehata-san was surprised at the quality of stones in America and frankly the quantity of them.  In his Aiskei Kai article (found here on page 8 – I would suggest joining this club just to obtain their monthly newsletter) he stated: “If you spent a whole day on the river, surely you would find a masterpiece. Unlike the exhausted rivers of Japan today, I couldn’t help but wonder if this isn’t what Japanese rivers looked like around the time of the stone boom in the 1950s and ‘60s.”

So we thought today, we would post up two black stones of very similar quality. One from Japan the other from the US.

Doha-seki

Doha

Toyama-ishi

Toyama-ishi

So which is Japanese and which is American?  They both are very dark and very hard material. The doha is solid black with a few hints of brown while the black toyama-ishi has some brown streaking.  You can click the photos for enlargements.

Very similar quality stones and particularly when holding them in your hands.  The doha stone is from Japan and is from the Setagawa river in Japan.  The toyama-ishi is from the State of Washington and is a jade stone.

When speaking to Tatehata-san about color of stone and what is acceptable he made a remark that confirmed what I have often believed.  Many state the only acceptable stone color from Japan is black or dark brown – that is very subdued colors.  The exception of course is the Akadama stone which is a red.  His belief, like mine, is if Japan had stones such as those from Black Butte (red, yellow, white, green, black jaspers) they would be shown in Japan as well.  Otherwise, what we prefer is often what is available.

You can make up your own mind, but we believe if you like the stone – simply enjoy it and forget making other people happy.

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