”Kokuji-yaki, Satomi Shimodake” Crockery that is suited to the time

”Kokuji-yaki, Satomi Shimodake”
Crockery that is suited to the time

The simplicity and warmth of the clay of Kokuji

Kokuji-yaki is a type of traditional pottery that has been handed on for generations. It is a traditional craft that started when the first generation Jinemon Kumagaya entered apprenticeship with the ceramic artist; Kazo from Soma Clan during the Edo period. This was about 200 years ago. Jinemon not only learned the technique but also created a original glaze from Kokuji by studying the local clay. The glaze is what makes Kokuji-yaki what it is. It creates a subtle color based on white and brown and creates crockery that is unique with simplicity and warmth.

There are a variety of Kokuji-yaki such as tea cups and plates, but the signature work of Kokuji-yaki is ”Suribachi (grinding bowl)” and ”Katakuchi”. ”Katakuchi” is a bowl with a long pouring spout on one end. It is convenient to use for pouring sake but it can be used to serve food or really cute to arrange seasonal flowers. Today, we talked to Satomi Shimodake who has been guarding the tradition of Kokuji-yaki. First, we visited the studio.

It changes ”gradually” with time

We watched how Shimodake makes ”Katakuchi”. Earlier we said that she is guarding the tradition, but ”in reality, we are not stuck with traditions so the pottery design can be suited to the current time.” Shimodake commented.
”It can be placed on the table and be used as modern tableware. Old ones also vary in shape. So they were probably used for a different purpose. We can also create a shape that is suited to the current times.”
It is true that we do not have to use ”Katakuchi” only on the dining table. As we mentioned earlier, some people may use it for arranging flowers. So they can have various designs too.
Nakata also challenged making a ”Katakuchi”, but it is difficult. It take a long time just putting the spout onto the base. Even Shimodake can only make about 4 ”Katakuchi” a day.

The reaction of the young people have changed

When Nakata saw her collection, he fell particularly in love with a small tea pot. ”The balance and the size of this one is so cute”, he said. Shimodake replied ”Recently, the reaction of the young people have changed. Even at department stores, there are many young people who come. There are an increasing number of people who want to be particular about the things they use.”
However, ”I am not going to do anything special.” Shimodake added.
”I would like to be careful and pass on Kokuji-yaki brand that our predecessors have created. Based on that, I want to create ceramics that suits the current times.” She explained the future of Kokuji-yaki.


Kokuji-yaki, Satomi Shimodake
31-29-1 Kokuji-cho, Kuji, Iwate Prefecture
URL http://kokujiyaki.com/?page_id=196