Hasami-cho, Higashisonogi-gun, Nagasaki Prefecture is known throughout Japan for its production of Hasami-ware Pottery. Picking up where we left off, we would like to dig into the traditions of Hasami-ware and how it was passed on in the land of Hasami.
Hasami Part.1 Hasami, City of Pottery with History of Evolution
※This article is sponsored by SAIKAI TOKI TRADING, written by JapanMade editorial team
Hasami-ware For the Mass
The city of Hasami has been producing Hasami-ware since the end of the 16th century. They mainly produced pottery made of ceramics, but porcelain took over once high quality porcelain was discovered. It was mass produced and the “Kurawanka Bowl” revolutionized the world of porcelain pottery by changing the image of the formerly expensive material. It was loved by the masses and spread across Japan.
All for One, One For All
One of the characteristics of Hasami-ware is that the manufacturing is divided into 3 different sections. “Kata-ya”, who creates the mould and passes it on to the “Kiji-ya”, who creates the dough and the shape from the mold. After that it gets passed down to the “Potter”, who draws, glazes, and bakes the pottery. When the pottery is finished the “Trader” supports the craftsmen by selling and distributing to the world. These sections were mainly run by family members and siblings in the past, but it gradually became different businesses.
Many of the former Hasami-ware manufacturing sites are very large, making it easy to imagine the number of craftsmen that used to work here. They say the people worked and supported each other like family making the characteristic of this city a unique one.
Open Mind, Open Community
If you walk down the narrow maze-like allies in Nakaoyama, you will realize many pottery workshops are connected. It’s common for craftsmen to go back and forth different workshops and it has a very open community. But it wasn’t always like this.
Although Hasami has been producing pottery for many years, it’s only been a few decades since they started calling it “Hasami-ware”. It was called Imari-ware in the Edo Era, and Arita-ware in the Meiji Era, for the station that exported the pottery was called Arita Station. Before long, the rules for manufacturer display became strict, which made the potteries from Hasami known as Hasami-ware.
The community was not always open minded like how it is now. Back then, there were “Keep Out” signs in many of the manufacturers to keep their techniques from leaking to other workshops. But the craftsmen got rid of the sign to innovate and run the tradition as a whole community. This caused the city to have a more open mind towards the craft.
Back then, heavier gifts were preferred as good luck and pottery was a popular choice. But as the lives and the needs changed, many of the stakeholders in the pottery industry went out of business. Even though the number of manufacturers have decreased, there are new generation of artisans who are re-opening the workshops that closed during their grandfather’s era. With a simple stylish design and a twist to match the modern lifestyle they are giving birth to a whole new era of Hasami-ware.
Hasami Part3: The Happiness Hasami City Aims For