Mikawachi Ware
"Master Techniques of Ceramic Art"

Mikawachi ware, also known as Hirado ware, is a pottery made in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. Known for its translucent white porcelain, it was highly popular in Europe during the trend toward Japanese crafts in the West in the 20th century. Mikawachi ware is remarkable for its delicate modeling techniques that push the limits of porcelain, such as openwork and relief carving, and for its beautiful painting that looks like a single piece of art.

About Mikawachi Ware

Mikawachi ware is a pottery production area known for its outstanding porcelain modeling techniques and picturesque paintings. It has a history of nearly 400 years in Nagasaki, Kyushu region, where many kilns, including Arita ware, are located.

Mikawachi ware was founded by a potter named Geo-gwan, who was brought back from Korea by Shigenobu Matsura, a feudal lord of the Hirado domain, at the end of the 16th century. He changed his family name to Imamura and became a naturalized Japanese.

Geo-gwan moved to Mikawachi and built a kiln with Goryeo-tteog, a potter who initiated the Karatsu ware that was born in northern Saga Prefecture at the same time, and 127 other potters.

In 1662, Imamura Yajibei, a grandson of Geo-guan, began full-scale production of porcelain, also the superior three-dimensional work, such as openwork, that can still be seen today, started to be produced.

The beautiful Mikawachi wares, which boasted of outstanding techniques, exports to overseas began in 1831, and they were exhibited at the Paris Exposition and the Chicago Exposition, where they were highly acclaimed.

From the late Meiji period to the early Showa period, numerous master potters of Mikawachi ware appeared, and the area grew to become one of the leading porcelain production centers in Japan.

The Charm of Mikawachi Ware

Since its establishment in 1598, Mikawachi ware has been revered, with pieces presented to the imperial court and shoguns, reflecting a long-standing commitment to producing high-class pottery, ranging from daily necessities to interior decorations.

Mikawachi ware pieces elevate a tabletop setting, presenting the elegance of sculptures or paintings. Characterized by its translucent and exquisite white porcelain, this ware is renowned for achieving the pinnacle of pure white color. The craftsmanship in Mikawachi ware, evident in delicate dyeing, intricate openwork, and fine detailing on the white porcelain, along with a pearly sheen achieved through high-temperature firing, exudes graceful luxury. These pieces are indeed treasures, meriting status as art.

Today's Mikawachi ware, inheriting the skills and spirit of its forebears, continues to be celebrated as a traditional national craft, demonstrating an enduring legacy of excellence. 

Popular Kilns

Hirado Kohsyo Danemon Kiln

As the direct descendant of Goryeo-on, one of the founders of the Mikawachi Ware in Nagasaki Prefecture, Hirado Kohsyo Danemon Kiln has been carrying on the technique for 400 years and is highly regarded both in Japan and abroad for its outstanding technique and artistic sensibility in design.

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Kakusho Kiln

Kakusho Kiln was founded by the Satomi family in Sasebo city, Nagasaki prefecture. Since the Meiji Period (1868 CE-1912 CE), Kakusho Kiln has won many awards including a Gold Prize at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904 for its Blue and White. Current master, Toshitaka Satomi, further incorporates traditional painting designs of Chinese influence and seeks to refine his methods of Blue and White artistry.

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