Kasama ware having more than 100 years history


The oldest Traditional Japanese craft, Kasama Ware (or pottery)

Kasama is the oldest pottery production center in the Kanto region. The style of pottery varies from kiln to kiln. Let’s take a look at the history and main characteristics of Kasama ware today.

The oldest pottery in Kanto region

Kasama ware is the oldest pottery in the Kanto region, made from clay from the Kasama area of Ibaraki Prefecture. In the mid-Edo period, Kuno Han’emon, the head of the Kasama area, opened the kiln under the instruction of a Shigaraki potter (Choemon). By the end of the Edo period, the techniques of Kasama-yaki spread to other areas and played a role in the establishment of pottery production centers.

In particular, Mashiko Pottery in Mashiko Town, Tochigi Prefecture, inherited the Kasama Pottery production method and is related to Kasama Pottery as a sibling production area. Other production centers that are related to Kasama-yaki include Hira-Shimizu-yaki in Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture, and Kosago-yaki in Matou Town, Tochigi Prefecture.

kasama yaki
Source: 株式会社男子専科

Currently, the main types of pottery produced in Kasama are miscellaneous daily utensils (plates, cups, bowls, teacups, sake cups, etc.), dolls, objets d’art, and monuments. Is it a characteristic of Kasama-yaki that it has no fixed features?

There are many artists who produce Kasama-yaki, and they produce a wide variety of works without being bound by tradition or formality. As a traditional craft, it has a history of being made using local materials and kilns, so there are some common characteristics in terms of raw materials and firing. However, since Kasama-yaki has no rules in terms of design, such as decoration or shape, the artist’s imagination is embodied as it is. As a result, a wide variety of designs exist.

It is a pottery that has a wide range of uses because of its sturdy finish.

Many pieces are made using Garome clay or Kasama clay. The clay is characterized by its tenacity and fine particles, which makes it very durable after baking. It is also resistant to stains, so it is used as a daily product.

Clay with high iron content

The high iron content of frog-eye clay gives it a brownish color when fired unglazed. In many cases, the clay is decorated with decorative techniques such as pouring glaze or overglaze painting.

Kilns and artists for Kasama ware

The fact that Kasama-yaki has no set design features attracts more attention to its makers. In other words, who made the piece is directly related to its value. Here we introduce some of the kilns and artists.


  • Mukoyama Kiln

While many artists have their own private studios, there are always about 10 artists working at this kiln. If you are interested in Kasama-yaki and are looking for a kiln and artists, check out Mukoyama-gama.

There are about five artists who have been certified by the national government as traditional craftsmen of Kasama-yaki, and there are also many artists who have already established their own studios but have previously worked for Mukaiyamagama.

  • Tofusya

The pottery is made with the desire to carry dreams and comfort like the spring thawing winds. His works, such as small plates in beautiful and gentle colors, are available through mail order.You can also purchase them at the gallery in the studio.

  • Isobe Toen

Known as the kiln of Kasama Pottery, which has been in business for 200 years, Isobe Toen has a studio, a direct sales shop, a pottery-making workshop, and a handmade soba (buckwheat noodle) restaurant, Ikkyu-an. The wall tiles of the facility are also made of ceramics, which shows the company’s commitment to Kasama-yaki pottery.


There are so many artists who create Kasama-yaki that it is difficult to choose which ones to focus on. Here are some artists who are worth paying attention to from the viewpoint of Kasama-yaki.

  • Yasunari Matsui

Yasunari Matsui is an artist who should be remembered if you are familiar with Kasama-yaki. He is the first Showa-born ceramic artist to be designated an Important Intangible Cultural Asset, and he is a master at combining similar colors and molding them to create patterns. Although he is deceased, he is a living national treasure who continued to make Kasama-yaki pottery.

  • Matsui Koyo

He is also the eldest son of Yasunari Matsui, who inherited the “Neri Ute,” an Important Intangible Cultural Property. His detailed workmanship is remarkable, including beautifully gradated vases and pieces with images of insects and leaves.

  • Shibata Soukyuu

He studied under Yasunari Matsui and was one of the inheritors of neriage. In addition to being a potter, Shibata is also a poet, essayist, and a priest of the Jodo sect of Buddhism. His works include sake cups, teacups, and vases, which are also traded at auctions.

  • Koji Masubuchi

He established Mukozangama Kiln Co., Ltd. and is certified as a traditional craftsman of Kasama-yaki pottery. In addition to creating large plates, flower vases, and tea bowls, he also trains and teaches young artists.

  • Noriyuki Nagamine

Although he now has his own studio where he creates his own works, he previously worked at Mukoyama Kiln, where he studied under Koji Masubuchi. He is a traditional craftsman of Kasama ware. His works are chic and easy to coordinate with tables, such as plates, bowls, bowls, and teacups, which can be used in daily life.

  • Enmi Kujirai

There are many female artists among the Kasama-yaki artists. Among them, Enmi Kujirai is probably the most notable. Her works have gentle colors, chic atmosphere, and feminine forms. Many fans say they want to purchase her works as their favorites for daily use.

kasama pottery
Source: mannaka.co.ltd. Kenokoto


While traditional crafts generally focus on the product rather than the artist because of the unique commonality in the product itself, Kasama-yaki is rather noted for its appreciation of the artist’s design. Kasama-yaki can have a totally different texture depending on the creator’s design, and as a result, “which artist’s work” is an important point for discerning customers.


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