Naraoka Ware

Among the wares made in Akita that date back to the Edo period, Naraoka ware’s Kakuemon kiln in Daisen is the only ascending kiln that has continued with its tradition to this day.
Kiyoharu Komatsu is said to have started the kiln in 1863 by inviting potters from the Terauchi Seto guild to the foothills of Mt. Oosugi. This was called the Oosugi Seto at the time.
Naraoka ware flourished during the Meiji era. There were many products for daily use, such as water jars, mortars and pestles, and lipped bowls. They were transported to Akita City and the Omagari area by boats on the Omono River.
The industry declined later due to consumers’ changing preferences and demands by the national government to manufacture clay pipes for public civil engineering projects. However, after the Second World War, the potters’ efforts to improve the quality of products and the folkcraft boom led to Naraoka ware’s revival.
The distinguishing characteristic of Naraoka ware is its unique blue glaze called Namako. After the wares are fired at high temperatures to make the most of the local clay, they undergo carbonization firing. This process, called Yakishime, emphasizes the deep blue color of the Namako glaze and changes the pottery’s color when fired. In recent years, wares have been created not only for practical use also as gifts. These are also popular as artworks that are simple yet sophisticated.