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Japanese Traditional Craft Resource Center Category


Japanese Traditional Craft

Craft Category Pottery & Porcelain
Name Hira Shimizu Yaki: Hira Shimizu Ware

Main Production Site:Yamagata

Hira Shimizu Yaki has the longest history in Yamagata, known as "a producer of ceramic art." It is said that the actual foundation of Hira Shimizu Yaki was in the middle Edo-era(17-19c), and the simple texture has been attracting lots of people.

One of its characteristics is the original soil which contains a lot of iron. The soil comes from Mt. Chitose, which is why Hira Shimizu Yaki is also called "Chitose-Yaki". Since compounds of the soil are suitable for both pottery and porcelain, the area has engaged in both of them.

Craftsmen have cherished the traditions, but nowadays the works of each kiln are getting more creative developing their originality. Some examples are such as "Nashi Seiji" of Sei-Ryu Gama ("Gama" or "Kama" means kiln in Japanese), on which surface iron contained in the original soil shows up, Shinsha-Yu, or Shinsha Glaze, which features its subtle dull-color of copper red, as well as the folk craft potteries created by Shichi-Emon Gama, or Shichi-Emon Kiln.

[A traditional craft (Designated by Yamagata Prefecture)]
Source: Hira Shimizu Pottery and Porcelain association
Translation by: Miwa Odagiri, reviewed by Marina Izumi

Materials Pot clay, Pottery stone
Crafting Processes 1. Take the soil and prepare the material
Take the original soil from Mt. Chitose. Divide the soil into pot clay and pottery stone. Pot clay is made with the mixture of wollastonite and feldspar. On the other hand, pottery stone is made by grinding stone adding some clay to enhance the plasticity.

2. Mold and Dry
After leaving the clay for a while, mold the shape with hands or potter's wheel, then dry.

3. Bake and Glaze
After drying completely, do biscuit firing, glaze and do glost firing.
History It is said that in Bunka period(1804-1817), Toujibei Ono from the region of Hitachi (Eastern Japan, presently called Ibaraki pref.) firstly started the pottery there, but there's another story that Ennin (also called as Jikaku Daishi) had actually started earlier.

In Bunsei period (1818-1829), Oboezaemon Abe from the region of Souma (Northern Japan, around the area presently called Fukushima pref. ) visited the site and founded the pottery kiln. The method of creating Souma Yaki, or Souma Pottery spread in the village, which helped it evolve as a major producer of pottery.

There were more than 30 potteries at the peak in the middle of Meiji Era (late 19C-early 20C), but with the transition of time, it diminished and now there are only 3 potteries left.
Related URL http://www.kankou.yamagata.yamagata.jp/db/cgi-bin/search/search.cgi?panel=detail&d01=1166&c=20

◆Exhibition / Showcase
Shichi-Emon Gama (Shichi-Emon Kiln)
Hira Shimizu 153, Yamagata city,
Yamagata prefecture,
Telephone: +81(0)23-642-7777

Sei-Ryu Gama (Sei-Ryu Kiln)
Hira Shimizu 50, Yamagata city,
Yamagata prefecture,
Telephone: +81(0) 23-631-2828

◆Event Information
You can experience the pottery making by contacting the showcases above.

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