The city of Hagi is situated on the coast of
the Japan Sea in Yamaguchi Prefecture and produces a style of
pottery exclusively devoted to the production of utensils for the Tea
The pottery tradition is said to have been started at the beginning of the
Edo Period (1604) by two Korean brothers, Ri Shakko and Ri Kei, who first
fired in Matsumoto-Nakanokura near Hagi. These brothers were employed by the
local warlord, Mori Terumoto, to produce ware for his use and to give as
gifts. Kei’s son was given the Japanese name Saka Koraizaemon and together
with his cousin he established the Fukagawa kiln. Members of the Saka family
still work in Hagi today as do decedents of Miwa Kyusetsu, who established
the Matsumoto kiln in 1663.
It is said that, after Raku, Hagi
wares are the most prized of tea wares in Japan but due
to the porosity of the clay and the traditional cracks of the glaze they do
leak and their rough foot ring can cause havoc with polished or lacquered
surfaces. The problem of leaking lessens with use as long as you remember to
dry completely or it can be resolved by soaking items in a warm rice or corn
starch solution and then drying. Why make things too easy?
WORK IN STOCK
Please note that potters names are shown with the family name first as is
usual in Japan.