JTCO strives for inheritance, creation and development of Japanese traditional culture.
Japanese Traditional Craft Resource Center Category


Japanese Traditional Craft

Craft Category Pottery & Porcelain
Name Takahama Yaki: Takahama Porcelain

Main Production Site:Kumamoto

"Amakusa China-stone ," raw material for Takahama Yaki was discovered in Amakusa Shimoshima in Kumamoto Prefecture in 17th century This China-stone, highly praised by Hiraga Gennai, who was an eminent inventor in Edo period (17-19c) as "best of the best soil in the world", is famous for raw material of high quality for white porcelain. It has been used to make high-grade porcelains such as Arita and Seto wares until now. The China-stone is not just famous for its pure, white and solid nature. It has been used by the Ueda family in Takahama City to create an unique porcelain culture through "Takahama Yaki" since many years ago.

Traditional Craft Officially Designated by Kumamoto Prefecture
Translation: Marina Izumi, reviewed by Naoko Yamashita

Materials Amakusa China-stone (Amakusa China clay)
Crafting Processes Amakusa China clay

Forming: Form the clay using a potter's wheel and a plaster cast

Trimming: give a finishing touch to the formed clay

Dry: Dry the formed clay

Biscuit Firing: fire it at about 900℃ in the gas kiln

Underglaze painting: Draw a design on the piece with asbolite (blue pigments consist of cobalt oxide)

Glazing: Coat the piece with glaze

Loading: Load the piece into a kiln for final firing

Final Firing: Burn the piece at 1300℃ in the gas kiln

Overglazing: Transfer the design or draw it by hand. Burn at 750-800 ℃ in an electrical kiln

Complete Finished product
History [Discovery of Amakusa Pottery Stone]
Though it is not certain, it is said that Amakusa China-stone was discovered far back in Genroku era (1688-1704) in Sara Yama in former Takahama village and in former Shimotsu Fukae village.

It was around the second year of Seitoku (1712) era, when Amakusa China-stone was first used as raw material by pottery makers in Hizen. In the eighth year of Meiwa (1771), Hiraga Gennai extoled it as "soil of the best quality the world" in his letter of petition, "Toki kufusho" which he sent to Nagasaki magistrate office to advise them to promote pottery manufacturing industry.

[Origin of Takahama Yaki]
According to the history of the Ueda family, mining started in 1728 by Denn-Emon the 3rd, who was the progenitor of the Ueda family in Takahama village, and it was continued until 1730. After some twenty-year closing, Kan-Emon Takken the 5th resumed mining in 1754.

In those days, Amakusa china-stone was shipped (used) as grinding stones or ink stones. When Dengo-Emon Takehitsu the 6th heard that Amausa china-stone was the most suitable material to make pottery, he invited Yamamichi Kiemon, a potter worked in Hizen-Nagatomo to Takahama and started pottery manufacture in 1762.

This is said to be the beginning of Takahama-yaki. Amakusa has little flat-land and few rice fields due to the mountainous area, which made it difficult for the villagers to make their livings by farming. Deeply concerned with the villagers' lives, Dengo-Emon did every research on the land to create a new industry. He thought pottery could be a new industry and spent a large amount of money on a new business, but it did not make much profit. Sometimes he thought of giving up the business, but he couldn't.

He concerned their lives would fall into poverty when they lose their jobs.

With his effort for continuing the business without fearing deficit, pottery was developed to a big business, and hundreds of villagers in Takanosuyama could get stable lives.
Related URL http://takahamayaki.jp/

◆Exhibition / Showcase
・Ueda Museum
598, Amakusamachi Takahamaminami, Amakusa-City, Kumamoto, 863-2804, Japan
TEL: 0969-42-1115
Admission fee: 300 Yen (adult), 100 Yen (child), Admission free for children under primary school/ Group reduction is available for a group of more than 15 people
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: 12/31-1/3, 8/14-15

・Juhogama Shop
598, Amakusamachi Takahamaminami, Amakusa-City, Kumamoto, 863-2804, Japan
TEL: 0969-42-1115
Opening Hours: 8:00-17:00 (weekedays), 8:30-17:00 (Weekends and national holidays)
Closed: 12/31-1/3, 8/14-15

JTCO Newsletter "Delivery of Seasonal Tradition"Experience Japan with you tour guide!Find us@Facebook