Redware teapots are famous as typical Tokoname ware, so that
one remembers red-brown teapots immediately when one hears the
name of Tokoname. It was relatively earlier in the history of
Tokoname ceramics that redware was introduced. It was during
the period from 1861 to 1864. Tea ware for green tea like
teapots had been produced since the early 19th century in
Tokoname following the popularity of the custom of green tea
drinking from the late Edo era. Typical tea ware during
this period was redware produced in China. Mr. Jyumon Sugie
and Nikou Kataoka started to make redware for the first time
Tokoname redware was made by the clay from rice fields which
contained lots of iron. This clay gave the ware a rich deep
red color. Producing redware drastically changed Tokoname's
ceramic industry. Potters who specialize in making redware
teapots appeared in addition to those who had made
conventional large products such as jars and pots. Important
to the development of Tokoname ceramics was a Chinese potter
Jin Shi Heng who was invited to teach Chinese teapot making
technique to Tokoname potters in 1878. This greatly helped
the rapid development of redware teapots. The technique of
carving small letters on teapots started from the time Jin
Shi Heng came to Tokoname.
Jin Shi Heng's visit extremely influenced not only ceramic
making techniques but the craftsmanship which Tokoname's
ceramic industry had previously lacked.
A square down-draft kiln with two months
A square down-draft kiln with two fire mouths was invented
in the late Meiji era. They were the result of improvements
on conventional kiln designs based on the latest European
technology. Two fire mouths were made on the each side of
the kiln and the entrance at the front. The flames coming
from the mouths move up over the partition or bag wall set
in the kiln. The two flames collide on the ceiling, and go
down to the floor and out to the chimney through the flue.
The sizes of kilns were diverse. The largest one was
19.4m x 6.4m long and the average one was 7.3m x3.9m.
The ceiling has an arch shape. The chimney is built of bricks.
This type of kiln rapidly prevailed during the Taisho era.
Eighty-six kilns existed in Tokoname in 1929. Coal was used
as a fuel in the early days, heavy oil gradually took its
place because it was easier to control and it reduced labor
costs. However as anti-air pollution laws were tightened,
and cheap heavy oil was not able to reach the standards,
production costs to buy expensive heavy oil soared, which
made these kilns obsolete. Slowly these kilns disappeared.
Ceramic pipes, flower pots, bonsai pots, charcoal braziers,
ornaments, jars and pots were fired in square down-draft
kilns with two fire mouths.
Pottery and Porcelain
Pottery quite simply is fired clay. Porcelain is made of
crushed stones. The firing temperature of porcelain is
higher than that of pottery. Porcelain is baked at around
1,300C compared with pottery which require lower temperatures.
In Tokoname red clay is fired at about 1,150c and mountain
clay about 1.200c.
Craftsman with traditional techniques(Dento-kougeishi)
Dento-kougeishi is a title given to a craftsman designated
by the minister of International Trade and Industry Ministry
as a person who has excellent traditional techniques. He or she
has to be nominated by people who have more than 12 years
experience with ceramics in the area producing traditional
arts and crafts.
Egoro or Sagger
Egoro is a container for loading kilns which is also known
as "Saya". They are used when products don't require to be
touched directly by flames. They protect the products from the
combustion of wood and coal and from unnecessary color changes.
Moreover they are piled up in the kiln allowing for greater kiln
efficiency. Egoro is fired many times, subsequently its surface
acquires a natural glaze effect. Some of them have an appeal
equivalent to ceramic works.
Production of the industries in Tokoname(surveyed on December 31,1996)
Total production of the industries in Tokoname
Production related to the ceramic industry
Items related to the ceramic industry
Sanitary ware \55,522,210,000
Ceramic and porcelain tiles \42,065,810,000
Table ware \2,596,760,000
The number of workers related to the ceramic industry
(4 employees or more).....................4,726
(3 employees or under )..................... 451
The number of companies related to the ceramic industry
(4 employees or more)........................193
(3 employees or under ) .....................211
There are various kinds of materials used to make ceramics.
Roughly divided, the major kinds are pottery and porcelain.
Clay is for pottery, crushed stones for porcelain. In
Tokoname crushed stones is used for sanitary ware and
construction tiles. On the other hand different types of clay is used according to the products. Some potters make their own original
clay mixing many kinds of clays to make their works distinguished.
In addition, clay factories produce a wide range of clays, as a
result people in the pottery business can buy suitable clays
according to their needs.
Today, various types of clays from other pottery areas come
to Tokoname, so many clays from all over the country are
available here. Material for porcelain products has to be
brought to Tokoname from other places. Clay also comes from
Seto, Shigaraki and Iga. In the old days each pottery town
had one specific and unique type of ceramics due to its original
clay, but nowadays it has changed.
The changes in Tokoname Ceramics