Posts in: 1月, 2018

  • BLOG
koi travel, sword smith visit


tatara in the 6C

Tatara in the 6th century (今佐屋山遺跡 再現模型, 和鋼博物館 蔵)

If you are interested in Japanese swords or ‘katana,’ you might have also heard of ‘tatara.’ Tatara is the traditional Japanese clay tub furnace used for smelting iron and steel. The word ‘tatara’ originally meant a pair of bellows, a device usually with two boards to send strong air, and the whole furnace came to be called as tatara later.

In traditional Japanese iron making, steel comes from iron sand. Smelting process of iron usually needs heat and materials including iron, such as iron ore, iron sand and so on. In Japan, 70% of the land has been forest from ancient times, which means that wood has been Read More

  • BLOG


The beauty of Mashiko ware is tightly related with nature. It is remarkable characteristic of Mashiko ware is that the color and texture of the pottery are gifts from mother earth.

During beginning of the 20th century, people in Mashiko was making Seto porcelain for daily utensils as it was profitable product. However, demand of ceramics began to decline due to development of new materials. It was when Shoji Hamada appeared in Mashiko town. Shoji moved to Mashiko town in 1930 and found the beauty of original Mashiko ware, made of local ingredients. Especially he appreciated earth brown color which is created from ash of local pine tree.

Initially the brown color was used for practical purpose. Local potters used ash of local Read More

  • BLOG

スクリーンショット 2018-01-16 18.04.44

Shoji Hamada studied in London and worried about his family and returned to Japan in 1924, after a big earthquake hit Kanto region including Tokyo in the previous year. He loved country life in England and learned a lot from it, which finally made him decide to settle down in Mashiko, a small pottery town 100 km northeast of Tokyo, after spending several winters in Okinawa and the rest of the years in Mashiko.

In 1930, he started to build his own house and pottery in Mashiko by relocating classical Japanese thatched-roofed houses, which you can still visit as a part of Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art and Shoji Hamada Memorial Mashiko Sankokan Museum. In Read More

  • BLOG

スクリーンショット 2018-01-16 18.04.23

One of the important figures in Japanese studio pottery is Shoji Hamada (1894 – 1978). He was also one of the four key contributors to Mingei Japanese folk art movement and was designated as one of the first National Living Treasure awardees.

Here are his words — “My pottery found its way in Kyoto, started in England, learned in Okinawa, and was brought up in Mashiko.” Let’s look into his life.

He was born in present Kawasaki City, near Tokyo, and studied ceramics at Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he met Kanjiro Kawai, another future Mingei contributor. These two young men went to Kyoto and worked together at the former body of Kyoto Municipal Institute of Read More