Rise of Mikasa
A mini-biography of George Aratani
In the years following the allied victory in World War II, America and Americans were filled with optimism and energy. Having lived through and survived the worst, americans understood that anything was possible and that their future was at hand. American George Aratani, the founder of Mikasa, was no exception. Born in the United States to Japanese parents, Aratani returned to Japan before the war to attend Keio University in Tokyo. After studying abroad, Aratani applied and was accepted at Stanford University, a school which he had long wanted to attend. Sadly, Aratani soon would suffer two tragedies. First, his beloved father would die. Second, after leaving Stanford to manage his father's signifcant business interests, Aratani fell victim to one of the most shameful chapters in American history.
Aratani was imprisoned in a japanese internment camp for the duration of the war. Following his release, Aratani applied his unique combination of business acumen and his extensive knowledge of Japanese language and culture and founded Mikasa in 1948. Before opening the Mikasa factory, Aratani had considered importing tuna to the United States. At the time Japanese freezing facilities were inadequate and his plan proved impractical if not impossible. A friend suggested importing a nonperishable item. Aratani visited Nagoya - a region in Japan known for the manufacture of beautiful Japanese china - and thus Mikasa was born. The events that lead to the creation of Mikasa have left an indeliable imprint on the company and its products.
Mikasa makes Bone China, Fine China and Stoneware
Mikasa is an American classic-- strong, practical and above all, beautiful. Almost 60 years after its inception, Mikasa offers several types of dinnerware and over 500 patterns, current and discontinued. The different types of Mikasa dinnerware and their characteristics are as follows:
Mikasa Fine China is elegant and refined but also practical. In addition to being dishwasher and microwave safe, Mikasa Fine China is made to be chip-resistant.
Mikasa Bone China is made with ash and, as a result, it is very strong and durable. But don't let its strength fool you -- it is every bit as luxurious, formal and elegant as Mikasa Fine China.
Mikasa Stoneware is the epitome of casual dinnerware. With the addition of feldspar, quartz and flint to the clay during the mixing process, Mikasa Stoneware is made incredibly durable. And of course, it is chip-resistant and freezer and microwave safe.
Mikasa Maxima is made with an ingredient called Alumina, which gives it even greater durability. Mikasa Maxima is freezer to oven (microwave and conventional) safe and it is machine washable. Mikasa is so confident that Mikasa Maxima is built to last that they will replace each piece that breaks or chips under normal use for two years from the date of purchase.
Mikasa Ultima, is also known for its durability, but unlike Mikasa Maxima, Mikasa Ultima does not contain Alumina.
Mikasa Crystal and Stainless
During the 1970's, Mikasa also began to offer crystal stemware, and stainless flatware. Mikasa crystal is a lovely acompaniment to Mikasa dinnerware and its equal in both durability and style. Like Mikasa china and crystal, Mikasa flatware is also sophisticated and stylish. Most Mikasa stainless patterns are 18/8, which indicates that the basic alloy from which the flatware is made consists of 18% chrome and 8% nickel. Mikasa stainless steel is durable, affordable and dishwasher safe.
In addition to the Mikasa name brand, Studio Nova, Home Beautiful and Christopher Stuart are names in the Mikasa Group.
Mikasa Outlet Stores
Mikasa opend its first outlet store in New Jersey in 1978. Today Mikasa operates over 160 stores in 40 states, featuring Mikasa's extensive selection of dinnerware.
Official Mikasa Information
For more information about Mikasa see the official Mikasa website at http://www.mikasa.com/