Unsure of what direction to follow in life, Leach spent nearly two years in China working with a rather sinister figure named Dr Alfred Westharp, who had a mission to 'save' China from the West's turmoil, vividly described in his diaries at this time. Perhaps not surprisingly this visit was not a success and at the invitation of Yanagi, he returned to Japan. He set up a pottery on Yanagi's estate at Abiko. Here he built a kiln, and made pots absorbing a wide range of influences from Staffordshire slipware and Dutch Delft to Chinese, Korean and Japanese wares. A disastrous fire brought this to an end, but a local nobleman, Viscount Kouroda set up a pottery for him in Tokyo, where Leach was able to work with a fully trained potter and an assistant.