NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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信楽焼 Sigaraki-yaki Shigaraki Pottery

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Shigaraki yaki is a traditional pottery fired in Shigaraki town, Koka, in Shiga Prefecture. It is one of the six original ceramic sites of ancient Japan.

The origin of Shigaraki ware can be traced to the piece Shigaraki-no-miya, which was made by order of the Shomu Emperor in the Tenpei period. Later in the Kamakura, Muromachi, and Ando-momoyama periods, Shigaraki ware was used for tea ceremony implements. In the Edo period, Shigaraki ware began to be acknowledged as an everyday ware.

Nowadays, Shigaraki ware consists of various forms for different purposes. Characteristics of Shigaraki pottery are its odor of natural mud and the cracks in its surface made by fire. In other words, the mixture of mud and fire creates a sophisticated pottery with the elegant naturalism of wabisabi.

In 1976, Shigaraki ware was designated as an important cultural asset.
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益子焼 Mashiko-yaki Mashiko Ware

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Folk-art of Mashiko ware is characterized by its warmth unique to earthenware that you feel when you hold one in your hand. Mashiko ware began in the late Edo period, when Keizaburo Otsuka, a potter studied at Kasama pottery town opened his own kiln in Mashiko Town, Tochigi Pref.. Since then its high quality clay proximity to Tokyo the town developed as a producing place of everyday articles such as pots or water jars. It was not until 1930, however, that Mashiko gained national fame, when a studio potter Shoji Hamada was designated a Living National Treasure. Hamada gave a great influence on local potters and they began to produce artistic ceramic works as well. At present there are 380 kilns and 50 pottery shops in the town. Fascinated by “beautility” and warmth of Mashiko style daily articles such as tea cups or plates, a lot of potters have now come to live in this town for friendly competition.
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