NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

”Shodai Mizuho-gama” – Shodai-yaki with a history of 400 years

”Shodai Mizuho-gama”
- Shodai-yaki with a history of 400 years

What is Shodai-yaki?

Shodai-yaki is pottery representing Kyushu that has been made at the base of Mt. Shodaisan located in the north of Kumamoto Prefecture for about 400 years ago.
In 1633, Tadatoshi Hosokawa was forced to relocate to Kokura castellan of the Buzen domain. At the time, potters Genshichi and Yasaemon who made pottery in Buzen-Agano were ordered to work as potters, and they started Shodai-yaki. In 1836, a mountain magistrate Rinemon Senoue was ordered by the feudal domain to build Senoue-gama for industrial development. The techniques of Shodai-yaki were inherited and they were further passed on to the Noda and Chikashige (???近重) families, which brought them to this area. The special Shodai clay from Mt. Shodaisan is used, and long-established manual techniques and methods continue to the present day. In 2003, Shodai-yaki was designated as National Traditional Kogei.

Visiting the workshop

The simple and strong style of tea bowls or ”chato” were loved by many tea ceremony masters. It is said that most of Higo-mono (chato produced in Higo) that appear in the records of tea ceremonies since 1625, such as Matsuya Kaiki, refer to Shodai-yaki. Now, Shodai-yaki is widely used as daily pottery. The deep beauty of glaze and the free drawn Nagashi-kake pattern are a good match with the shape, creating a simple taste.
There are 12 potters mainly in Arao-shi now. Nakata visited one of them, Shodai Mizuho-gama. In 2008, the 2nd generation Rui Fukuda won the Canada award in ”VJC Charming Japanese Souvenir Contest” which is part of ”Visit JAPAN Campaign” held by the government to convey the attractiveness of sightseeing, and selects Japanese souvenirs that are superior in quality and design in the eyes of foreigners. She is an artist who also holds exhibitions in Osaka, Kobe, Tokyo, and Germany in addition to Kumamoto.


Shodai Mizuho-gama
914 Shoyama, Kamihirayama, Arao-shi, Kumamoto