Kasama ware is the characteristic pottery of the Kasama City area of Ibaraki Prefecture. Along with the nearby town of Mashiko, Kasama is known as one of the major ceramics production centers of the Kanto region. Though today it is a governmentally recognized traditional craft, the path leading to this status was long and winding.
Kasama ware can be traced back to the An’ei years (1772-1781) of the Edo Period (1603-1868). It’s said to have originated when Hanemon Hisano, the head of the town of Hakoda (now a region of Kasama City) invited ceramist Choemon from the town of Shigaraki in Omi Province (today’s Shiga Prefecture) to build a kiln. Later, Kasama’s feudal lord, Makino Sadaharu, implemented a policy of pottery advancement, resulting in increased production of daily goods such as pots and mortars using Kasama ware.
Due to its resemblance to the style of pottery produced in Edo (today’s Tokyo), numerous workshops in Kasama began mass production from the end of the Edo Period to the Meiji Period (1868-1912), developing into a major industry. Even after entering the Meiji Period, with 19 workshops, Kasama was known as a production center for kitchen implements made using coarse earthenware. Thereafter, cooperation between the government and private industry led to research on glaze and clay, as well as increased training of ceramic artists. As a result, Kasama ware successfully developed from coarse earthenware for kitchen utensils to an artistic craft, in which form it continues to this day.
Kasama ware’s unique feel comes from Kasama clay’s excellent plastic and adhesive qualities. Kasama ware is durable and stain-resistant, developing unique characteristics the more it is used. Today, artists from both Japan and abroad who aspire to become potters come to Kasama and create new Kasama wares with their innovative, original designs. Some of the workshops still in operation today were making Kasama ware during the Edo Period. Blessed with history and tradition, as well as a new generation of ceramic artists who continue to realize innovative ideas, Kasama ware is sure to continue to be passed on to future generations.
861-3 Shimoichige Kasama City Ibaraki Prefecture
Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum
2345 Kasama Kasama City Ibaraki Prefecture