Tokoname ware

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Natural glaze ware jar, excavated at Ise, Mie, Heian period, 12th century
Coil-built stoneware with ash glaze. Kamakura period, 14th century

Tokoname ware (常滑焼?, Tokoname-yaki) refers to a type of Japanese pottery, stoneware, and ceramics produced in and around the municipality of Tokoname, Aichi, in central Japan.[1][2] Tokoname was the location of one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan.[3]


Pottery made in Tokoname dates back to the 12th century. During the Heian period, what is now called Tokoname ware was already part of daily life. A kiln known as the Takasaka kiln was built in the 14th century. Towards the end of the Edo period in the late 19th century, Koie Hokyu completed a chambered "climbing kiln" (nobori-gama). The excellent reputation of modern Tokoname ware was established by his son Koie Hoju. He laid the foundations for earthenware pipe making and introduced the redware for which the town became renowned. A statue was later put up in his honour in the town.

The construction of the Meitetsu Tokoname Line in the Meiji era encouraged production and provided transportation for the increasing tile production during the Taisho era.

The traditions behind Tokoname ware have been kept alive by generations of potters. In 1998, third-generation potter Yamada Jozan III (三代山田常山 1924–2006) was named a Living National Treasure, after being recognised as a National Intangible Cultural Asset for making small pouring vessels. His son Yamada Jozan IV (b. 1954) assumed his father's title after his passing. Another noted potter from the Showa era was Ezaki Issei (江崎一生 1918–1992).[4][5] In January 2007, Tokoname was officially protected as a local brand.

Products that Tokoname is renowned for today are wind chimes, bonsai pots, redware tea pots, shochu servers, tea incense burners.

Tokoname ware can be found through the Tokoname Pottery Association Cooperative Union, the Tokoname Pottery Wholesale Association and the Tokoname ware wholesale centre Ceramall.[6]

Climbing kiln[edit]

Toei kiln

About 60 climbing kilns formerly operated in Tokoname. The Toei kiln operated from around 1887 to 1974, and is the biggest climbing kiln in Japan. It has eight firing chambers running a 17° incline and ten chimneys of varying height.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wolf, Martin L. (1951). Dictionary of the Arts. New York: Philosophical Library. p. 633. 
  2. ^ Munsterberg, Hugo (1964). The Ceramic Art of Japan: A Handbook for Collectors. Rutland: Charles E. Tuttle Publishing. p. 633. 
  3. ^ "Japanese Pottery". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "A New Torch-Bearer of Tea Ceramics for the 21st Century: Toku Art -Contemporary Japanese Ceramics & Applied Arts". 
  5. ^ "Wonderful Trio – Japanese Sake Vessels". 
  6. ^ "常滑陶磁器卸商業協同組合". 

External links[edit]

Media related to Tokoname ware at Wikimedia Commons