Matsumoto Unshichi from Soma province (Akita prefecture) was the first potter to start a pottery in Mount Atago, Shiraiwa Village, sending up the very first finger of smoke in September 1771.
Unshichi retired two years after its establishment, and his pupils, represented by Gisaburo, took over the business. With the extraordinary support of Kubota (Akita) domain, the supply chain of Shiraiwa-yaki expanded along the borders of Akita prefecture, which led to it becoming the representative pottery of Akita.
However, because the Meiji Restoration ended the domain’s support and allowed the inflow of pottery from advanced areas, Shiraiwa-yaki lost its momentum, resulting in its extinction in 1898.
To distinguish it from the revived works, the pottery produced before and within the Meiji era is called “Old Shiraiwa-yaki.”