16 August 2023

Graceful Blue and White Fine Porcelain

"Blue and White" has fascinated us with its elegant balance of two beautiful shades, the indigo-cobalt blue gracefully enhanced by the exquisite perfection of milk-white porcelain clay. Not only is this design pleasant to the eyes, but as drinkware and cuisine-ware, they also bring comfort and delight through their fine and smooth finish of the white porcelain texture, and the lightness and delicate feel of holding one.

We invite you to explore the craft and art of a kiln in the provincial town of Mikawachi, Nagasaki prefecture. This three-hundred-year-old kiln, once serving the lordship of the Hirado Domain, has a rich history of producing exquisite Blue and White porcelain. A prestigious kiln with a history of elegance and perfection, continues to aspire the highest level of skill in the art of charming and fine Blue and White.


Yoshikaze Kawakami

Writer and Editor of MUSUBI KILN.

He studied classical Japanese literature at university, and practiced the art of Noh drama. He writes on East Asian art and literature.


  • A Prestigious Kiln of Blue and White
  • The Gentle Soft Touch of Blue Shade
  • The Melting of Cobalt Blue
  • Beauty of Chinese-Style Paintings
  • Heritage Craft of Mikawachi Porcelain Ware

A Prestigious Kiln of Blue and White

Kakusho Kiln has a history of providing Lord Matsuura of Hirado, with exquisite Blue and White porcelain for more than two centuries. Their artistry in the dyeing of Blue and White was praised for its gentle and soft shade, intertwined with a refined style and elegance of paintings with much heartful care. These can be appreciated in their paintings of peony flowers and blades of spring grass.

This Blue and White Cup of Chrysanthemum is made of very thin porcelain. It requires a careful technique of carving out the clay using a planer. The smooth and cool texture of white porcelain instills in us a heartwarming emotion. The feel, and the right amount of force just enough to raise the cup with your fingers, is like the delicate and soft press of an ivory-white piano key at the smallest sound in pianissimo. The rims of the cups are curved to prevent deforming during bisque firing. Despite its delicate appearance, the porcelain texture is high-fired and made very solid and sturdy. Suitable for entertaining your guests or for your own use. 

As one holds this dear cup, with the heart already melting and touched by its texture of white porcelain, we are invited to savor the lovely painting of the petals of the chrysanthemum flowers.

The Gentle and Soft Touch of Blue Shade

The outlines are carefully drawn by a very fine brush, the craftspeople are especially skilled in perfecting delicate lines. It requires a smooth and fluid movement so as to let the right amount of dye flow, a second of hesitation and pause will stain the bisque ware with excessive blending of the dye. The result is a highly detailed and skilled drawing of gentle blue lines, a limpid light blue.

Too much of the dye soaked in the brush will spoil and stain the outlines. A too strong a press on the bisque ware will lose the natural gradation of shading. One must naturally let the dye seep and infuse into the bisque ware, to give birth to that gentle hue of a mixture of darker and lighter shades. The craftspeople at Kakusho Kiln believe in the "seeping" of paint rather than the "painting" of. Therefore, instead of pressing the brush along the outlines, they tilt the brush horizontally as to let the dye naturally stream and seep into the bisque. The result is a soft and paler blue with a natural feel of the change in shades, yet with a tint of delicate outlines created by fine brush skills.

The Melting of Cobalt Blue

When the hand-drawn outlines blend together with the painted dye, the outlines disappear, and the paintings become more three dimensional and lifelike. It is a technique which relies on the firing phase, where the glaze and the dye melt together in the heat, diminishing the lines, intricately fusing together with the painting. It is a technique that current master Satomi holds as the ideal of Blue and White, tirelessly pursuing perfection.

Beauty of Chinese-Style Paintings

“Karako” is the name of drawings of Chinese-style paintings depicting children. These motifs were initially used in larger porcelain ware for decorative purposes, but Kakusho kiln takes advantage of their drawing and painting quality to have them available in daily drinkware and dishes as well.

Heritage Craft of Mikawachi Porcelain Ware

Kakusho Kiln truly captivates us with its incredible artistry in the art of Blue and White porcelain. The designs are refined and elegant, suitable for entertaining guests or for your own use. The paintings are hand-drawn with distinct shades of soft and gentle blue. The current master, Satomi Toshitaka, continues to pursue this art, further perfecting the heritage craft of Mikawachi porcelain ware.

View Kakusho Kiln Collection