Kasama is a city in Ibaraki prefecture which is next to Tokyo. The location and the special clay soil called Gairome clay, which contains plenty of iron, and Kasama clay produced from Kanto loamy layer, have played important roles in Kasama Ware history.
The origin dates back to the middle of Edo period (1603-1867), when a headman of nearby village, Kuno Hanuemon, invited a potter Choemon from Ohmi area (Current Shiga prefecture) where Shigaraki wares were (and are) produced to open his own kiln. This became the designated kiln of Kasama domain and started to produce daily potteries such as jars and mortars under the protection.
Since the soil, Kasama clay, has a sticky potential and rough, the finished pottery becomes hard. It was very suitable for daily goods at that time. Artisans have cerated daily potteries on potter’s wheels and by hands with methods such as Tatara (slice the soil and make a form on a board or mold) and Hineridashi (form the clay long and narrow, string-like shape or thin board-like shape, and then create the ideal form with it).
The color of the surface is usually reddish since the clays contain a lot of iron, so usually covered by glazing or simple patterns are drawn on.
In the transition from Edo era (1603-1867) to Meiji era (1868-1912), Kasama Ware gained its popularity for the needs of modernization and mass production. Since the location, the vicinity of Edo/Tokyo, became a big advantage and many artisans and craftsmen gathered. Later in Showa (1926-1989), artisans started to create kitchen goods, vessels, and small statues in addition to jars and materials for infrastructure.
Currently, the simplicity of Kasama Ware draw attentions from younger people, especially young artisans, and many of them visit there to create various potteries from practical vessels and sake wares to novel, unconventional objects.
Kasama Ware was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1992.