NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

Yakishime and celadon

"Yakishime - a unique method without using glaze Celadon -
beautiful aqua pottery ware"

Yakishime which doesn’t use glaze, and celadon with a quiet and soft texture

Toen Mifunegama is a potter where ceramic wares are made by the father, Sadaki Tsugane and his twin sons. Each of them has a different style. Older brother Hitoshi Tsugane is a potter of Yakishime who kilns pottery ware without using glaze. Yakishime is a kilning method in which pottery are kilned with firewood without using glaze on the surface. Ash sprinkled on the material acts as glaze and produces a pattern. Pottery wares made by this method features a unique texture.
Younger brother Hitomu Tsugane is a potter of celadon. Hitomu learned the basics of pottery art in Arita, and taught himself celadon. Now he makes dishes and drinking cups. Celadon is pottery kilned with a celadon glaze. A variety of colors can be created by kilning with glaze. Glaze containing a lot of iron creates an extremely beautiful aqua color after kilning at high temperatures.
”I was attracted to the colors of celadon and selected this method. The quiet and soft color tone unique to celadon. It has elegance.” Hitomu talked about the appeal of celadon.

Craftsmanship that extracts elegant clarity

To make celadon, glaze, which is made by dissolving clay and ash in water, is applied to unglazed pottery. A variety of colors can be created by kilning with a glaze coating. Glaze is applied thickly. A single coating is not enough, so the glaze is applied carefully several times.
Glaze is similar to dye rather than paint as it becomes absorbed by the pottery. If too much glaze is applied, the color may not ”stick” as the pottery will try to get rid of the moisture. The length of time that the surface of the pottery is in contact with the glaze creates variations in color tone, but there is no way to know if the color is good until the pottery is taken out of the kiln. A potter makes many pieces to develop their senses. Creating an even aqua color is all in the hands of the craftsman.

Learning from predecessors and using new methods to relay the appeal

”There wasn’t anyone in particular that I fully respected, but I was inspired by work from the Chinese era as well as those of modern Japanese artisans, and developed my own colors and shapes over time. I have spoken with many people and heard many stories. I am moving forward while working with other celadon artisans.” Hitomu-san told us with a smile on his face.
Chinese celadon was known as masterpieces in ancient times. Young potters convey the appeal of celadon that has been inherited from their predecessors, not only to Japan but also the world by using new methods of expression.

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Toen Mifunegama
230 Mifune Ooaza, Mifune-cho, Kamimashiki District, Kumamoto