Many of the best examples of blanc de Chine can also be found in Japan where they are used in family altars (butsudan) and other funerary and religious uses. In Japan the white variety was termed hakuji, hakugorai or "Korean white", a term often found in tea ceremony circles. The British Museum in London has a large number of blanc de Chine pieces, having received the entire collection of P.J.Donnelly as a gift in 1980.
Dehua white porcelain was traditionally known in Japan as hakugorai or “Korean White Ware.” Although Korai was a term for an ancient Korean kingdom, the term also functioned as a ubiquitous term for various products from the Korean peninsula.
The Japanese knew of the existence of the Fujian province kilns and their porcelain, now known as Dehua or Blanc de Chine ware. The Dehua kilns are located in Fujian province opposite the island of Taiwan. Coastal Fujian province was traditionally a trade center for the Chinese economy with its many ports and urban centers. Fujian white ware was meant for export to all of maritime Asia.
However a large quantity of these ceramics was intended for a Japanese market, before drastic trade restrictions by the mid 17th century. Items were largely Buddhist images and ritual utensils utilized for family altar use. An association with funerals and the dead has perhaps led to a disinterest in this ware among present day Japanese, despite a strong interest in other aspects of Chinese ceramic culture and history.
The very plain white incense tripods and associated objects for Japanese religious and ritual observance are also likely designed specifically for a Japanese market, as are the Buddhist Goddesses of Mercy with child figurines that closely resemble the Christian Madonna and Child. Such figurines were known as Maria Kannon or “Blessed Virgin Goddesses of Mercy” and were part of the “hidden Christian” culture of Tokugawa Japan which had strictly banned the religion.
White porcelain Buddhist statuary was extensively produced in Japan at the Hirado kilns and elsewhere. The two wares can be easily distinguished. Japanese figures are usually closed on the base and a small hole for ventilation can be seen. Hirado Ware also displays a slightly orange tinge on unglazed areas. Wikipedia