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JAPANESE TRADITIONAL CRAFTS

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Mikawachi Pottery

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Mikawachi town is in the west side of Saga prefecture, just next to Nagasaki prefecture and the founder of Mikawachi Pottery chose this place for the good quality soils for porcelain. It was fortunate for Mikawachi Pottery that the famous Amakusa pottery stone was discovered nearby area later and the result is the beautiful white surface with miniature pictures in blue.

The founder is a Korean potter called Koseki who was brought to Hirado domain after Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Korean invasion and later became Japanese with Japanese name, Imamura. Then domain leader, Matsuura Shigenobu ordered him to open his kiln in Nakano village. But Koseki needed to move around Hirado domain with his son for good pottery soil, and finally settled in Mikawachi. The tradition then began.

The feature of Mikawachi Pottery is the elaborate pictures on the surface and accuracy of the forming. The popular pictures are natural things like ivy and flowers, and sketches of children called “Karako” playing with butterflies under pine trees and peony flowers. It was thought that the more children in the picture the more valuable, and Mikawachi Pottery with sketches of 7 children were usually presented to Tokugawa family and the Imperial Family.

Sukashibori technique, which means scooping small holes, is also famous and often used to create incense burners. The delicate touch toward forming is just stunning, and the style is also appeared in Rankakude, very thin cups like egg shell and even the pictures on the surface can be seen from the inside.

Mikawachi Pottery had developed its own style and arts during Edo period (1603-1867) under the patronage of Hirado domain, and until now, the technique has been kept generation by generation with support by people who love this art.
Mikawachi Pottery was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1978.


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