The Karatsu-yaki ware is one of the Japan's three great tea ceramics along with the Raku-yaki ware and Hagi-yaki ware. Fondly named Chato, literally tea ceramics, Karatsu-yaki ware has been loved by masters of the tea ceremony from ancient times. The Karatsu-yaki ware is believed to begin in Mount Kishidake adjacent to Kitahata in Karatsu. The remains of a kiln there is called a split bamboo type ascending kiln for its shape that a split bamboo is covering a kiln, which its technique is said to be handed down from the Korean Peninsula. This surely tells us the close relationship between the Asian continent and this region.
After the extinction of the Hata Family, who governed Mount Kishidake, the potters of Mount Kishidake Kokaratsu got together with Korean potters who were brought over from Korea due to Hideyoshi Toyotomi's dispatch of troops to the Korean Peninsula and his invasions of Korea from 1592 to 1598, and produced variations such as the Matsuura Kokaratsu ware, Taku Kokaratsu ware, Takeo Kokaratsu ware and the Hirado Kokaratsu ware. Yi Sam-pyeong, who opened a kiln for the Taku Kokaratsu ware, made a discovery of a large deposit of porcelain stone in the mountainside of Mount Izumiyama close to the town of Arita in 1616, and worked to switch over from ceramics to porcelain, eventually giving birth to the Arita-yaki pottery. The birth of Arita-yaki pottery caused the Taku Kokaratsu ware and Hirado Kokaratsu ware to disappear, and the remaining Matsuura Kokaratsu ware has been handed down to present times as the kiln of the Karatsu Domain and the Takeo Kokaratsu ware as the kiln for the people making daily tableware. The fascination of the Karatsu-yaki ware is its usability that gives a profound atmosphere and charms you as you use it. It is agreeable that Karatsu-yaki ware is recognized as first-class tea ware. To this day, its natural and simple overglaze enamels and a warm feeling of touch remain strong and nearly 50 pottery producers can be found in this region.
● Contact: Karatsu-Yaki Ware Cooperative Union, Tel: +81-955-73-4888
[Venues to enjoy Karatsu-yaki ware]
● Furusatokaikan Arpino (Karatsu), Tel: +81-955-75-5155
Exhibits and sells a range of works from the pottery studios of Karatsu-yaki ware. Visitors can also enjoy meal and shop the specialties of Karatsu.
● Taroemon Nakazato Ceramic Studio (Karatsu), Tel: +81-955-72-8171
A ceramic studio of the 14th Taroemon Nakazato, a ceramic artist who keeps challenging new works while preserving the tradition of Kokaratsu-yaki. The studio exhibits the works of the 13th Taroemon Nakazato known as his unique patting technique and the late 12th Taroemon Nakazato, a living national treasure, in addition to Kokaratsu-yaki.