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Japanese Traditional Craft Resource Center Category


Japanese Traditional Craft

Craft Category Pottery & Porcelain
Name Tajima Banko Yaki: Tajima Banko Pottery

Main Production Site:Fukushima

"Tajima Banko Pottery" is all hand-made and the texture differs one by one. The old yet unique hand forming technique using fingerprints as part of the pattern give the pieces energy and a feeling of warmth within its roughness.

One of the characteristics of "Tajima Banko Pottery" is that they are fired at a high temperature without glazing. For that reason, the fingerprints remain visual and the light color of unglazed pottery gives each piece a remarkable impression.

Another characteristic is that there is a frog somewhere on the piece, whether it's on a tea cup or on a lid of a tea pot. This comes from the wish to "Buji ni Kaeru (to come home safely)," as the word "Kaeru" has a double meaning of "to come home" and "frog". Other than frogs, there are cases of placing a "dice" to wish for "luck" or a "Kappa (Japanese imaginary creature)" upon a customer's request.

[Designated Traditional Crafts of Fukushima Prefecture]
Credit: Aizu Tajima Banko Pottery Association
Translation by: Eimi Yagasaki, reviewed by Yoshiko Nagao

Materials Clay
Crafting Processes [1] Soil Sampling
The clay used for "Tajjima Banko Pottery" always comes from local soil. After drying the collected soil they are kneaded to prevent cracks on the pottery.

[2] Molding
The pieces are molded by hand without the use of a potter's wheel. For that reason, the shapes differ one by one. This process is very important to create the unique texture of "Tajima Banko Pottery."

[3] Finishing
Patterns are shaped onto the molded "Tajima Banko Pottery." The patterns are pressed onto the surface with a petal or a leaf or sometimes a mold.

[4] Firing
Firing in high temperature without glazing turns the pieces into a light color.
History The origin of "Tajima Banko Pottery" is said to be the unique method invented by potters within the castle during the end of the Edo period (17-19c), but there are others that say that it comes from a craftsman of "Nihonmatsu Banko Pottery" who went and taught the technique in Tajima during 1870.

The pottery was most popular at the beginning of the Showa period (20c) where many artifacts were produced as well as daily goods. The production was once suspended during World War Ⅱ but had resumed in 1969 leading up to the present.

Nowadays, the pottery is a favorite gift item as it carries a meaning of "luck".

◆Exhibition / Showcase
Aizu Tajima Banko Pottery Association (Katsuzo Kiln)
729-2 Shita Yasunba, Sekimoto Village, North Aizu Town, Aizu District, Fukushima Prefecture
Tel:+81-(0)241-66-2258 (Japanese only)

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