Culture/History Goods

History of Hagi-yaki ceramics – Japanese pottery


What is Hagi-yaki?

According to Wikipedia, Hagi ware (“Hagi-yaki”) is a type of Japanese pottery traditionally originated from the town of Hagi, Yamaguchi, in the former Nagto Province. If you search “Hagi-yaki” on internet, you could find a lot of pictures and explanation of it so I would pass on those in this article but would like to touch on the origin of Hagi ware.

Origin of Hagi-yaki

Since the old days, Hagi ware has been loved by a master of tea ceremony along with Kyoto’s Raku ware and Saga’s Karatsu ware. The origin of Hagi-yaki goes back to the Sengoku era (15th – 16th century) when Hideyoshi Toyotomi, a Japanese daimyo and politician at the time, sent his troops to Korea. During the Sengoku era, tea ceremony had become a huge trend which led a lot of Daimyo (i.e. powerful Japanese feudal lords) to bring back Korean potters to Japan.

These Korean potters, under the protection of Daimyo started making Fukuoka’s Agano ware and Takatori ware, Saga’s Arita ware, Kagoshima’s Satsuma ware, etc. which are still well-known products of each region. Hagi ware was also one of them.

Hagi ware first started being made by Korean potters called Rishakkou and Rikei (they were brothers) under the protection of Mori family. In 1604, Terumoto Mori, a Japanese daimyo, opened the Mori clan’s porcelain kiln in Matsumoto village, Hagi city and have the potters make their own pottery. In 1657, Rishakkou’s descents opened the new porcelain in Fukagawa village, Nagato city, while Rikei’s family continued making potteries in Matsumoto village. In later years, these potteries were called “Matsumoto ware” and “Fukagawa ware” which then became “Hagi ware” in the Meiji era (1868 – 1912).

Drinking green tea with Hagi-yaki pottery

What is attractive about Hagi-yaki?

One characteristic of Hagi-yaki is that it has a fine crack of glaze called “Craze” on the surface of pottery. The longer you use the Hagi pottery, the more seeps of the tea into the craze that alters the color of your pottery which becomes your original color of the Hagi ware one day.

Also, I sometimes use my Hagi pottery as a little bowl for my meal. In the photo below, I put pickled cucumber which is one of the typical Japanese dishes into the beautiful Hagi ware.

Up in the middle is the Hagi ware I used for my meal


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