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JAPANESE TRADITIONAL CRAFTS

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Aizu Hongo Yaki

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It is notable that as united tradition both ceramic and porcelain are made in Aizu Hongo area, Aizu Misato town in Fukushima prefecture. Traditional glaze such as Ame Yu (candy color glaze) and Kai Yu (glaze made by ashes) are used, and drawing is done in Gosu (asbolite for blue color) or multiple colors.

The production is mainly done on a potter’s wheel or hand-twisting, or sometimes clay plate is used. Some are shaped by mold, too.

Currently, many type of kitchen goods such as plates, bowls, and cups are made, however, the first notable production of pottery in this area was roof tiles.

In 1593, the domain ruler Gamo Ujisato invited artisans from Satsuma domain (current Kagoshima area) and made them create beautiful roof tiles. Later in the middle of 17th century, then domain leader Hoshina Masayuki called a potter Mizuno Genzaemon and pottery production became full-fledged.

The most common pottery in Aizu Hongo Yaki is bowl for pickling smoked herrings called “Nishin Hachi”. Usually shaped in rectangle and glazed by Ame Yu. Nishin Hachi also represents the food culture in Aizu area.

In 19th century, Sato Ihei who learned porcelain making in Kyoto and Arita brought the method in Aizu. The basement of current Aizu Hongo Yaki was then established, and now the production scale is placed at the second in Tohoku area following Oohori Soma Ware. As the production center of porcelain, Aizu Hongo Yaki is the oldest in Tohoku area.

Aizu area was suffered from historical event of the Boshin war at the end of Edo era (1603-1867), the disastrous fire in Taisyo period, and recent Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, but each time the artisans and the fans revived the production.

Aizu Hongo Yaki was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1993.


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