The town of Kokuji in Daigo-machi, Ibaraki Pref. has been known for producing excellent material of inkstones. During the Edo period (1603-1868), the ninth generation of Lord of Mito Province (present-day Ibaraki Pref.), Tokugawa Nariaki, loved these inkstones very much, so he named them Kokuju Inkstones. The word “Kokuju” is a homophonic of the place name, Kokuji, and means “eternal prosperity of the country.” Its distinctive black gloss and patterns naturally appearing on the stone surface are simple but beautiful. As it is hand-carved, each product has its original taste. In 1930, when the special exercise of Japanese army was carried out in several places in the prefecture, the governor dedicated a Kokuju inkstone to the emperor. In the next year, an event to exhibit and sell Kokuju inkstones was held in Tokyo, and these inkstones were highly estimated by famous calligraphers, literary people, and business leaders. They were counted as one of Japan’s 3 Fine Inkstones at the time. However there had been no craftsmen who could make this inkstone for some time and it was called “phantom inkstone.” Later in Showa 30s (1955-1964), it was revived by Taiseki Hoshino in Daigo-machi. In its traditional making, Kokuju stone is cut and formed into the shape, then the both sides are flattened with a tagane (a Japanese engraving tool) and scarped with several kinds of flat and round chisels, and finally it is polished with a grind stone.
- 415 Taiko, Taiko-cho, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki Prefecture
- Kokuju-seki Daigo Inkstones