"Ceramics with a History of 1,000 Years"
Seto ware, a porcelain crafted in Aichi Prefecture, stands as a testament to Japan's rich ceramic heritage. Counted among the esteemed "Rokkoyo"—the six ancient kilns of Japan—it boasts a storied history. Seto was Japan's pioneer in porcelain mass-production, earning "Seto-mono" its reputation as a synonym for ceramics in the nation.
Today, Seto ware captivates with its vast stylistic range. Uniquely, it is among the select regions in Japan producing both stoneware and porcelain.
Seto, where ceramics were perfected using "glaze," became the largest pottery production area in Japan during the Kamakura period (1185 CE - 1333 CE). And Seto ware holds the distinction of being the oldest pottery in the history of Japanese ceramics.
It is also the birthplace of the mass production of porcelain that began around the Edo period (1603 CE – 1868 CE) which helped make porcelain tableware common to households throughout Japan.
The reason why the history of Seto ware has continued for about 1000 years up to the present is that Seto is blessed with high-quality and rich ceramic clay, and has kept growing as an industry by adopting new technology and culture with a flexible mindset. It is said that "there is nothing that cannot be made in Seto" owing to the efforts and high technology of their predecessors. A wide variety of pottery is produced, including not only Japanese and Western tableware, but also novelties, architectural ceramics, insulators, and fine ceramics.
Today, Seto in Aichi Prefecture is still the center of the porcelain industry in Japan, and also serves as a training ground for young ceramic artists.
Seto Sometsuke (Blue and White) ware is ceramics produced in the Seto City and Owari Asahi City area of Aichi Prefecture. While the Sometsuke technique is commonly used on porcelain, Seto Sometsuke ware uniquely extends its application to stoneware as well.
The origin of Seto Sometsuke ware dates back to the early 19th century, when potters such as Kato Tamikichi, who later became known as the founder of porcelain, spread the technique of firing porcelain in the Seto area. Later, Seto Sometsuke ware developed under the guidance of painters who taught Seto craftspersons how to paint in a soft Chinese style. And by the middle of the 19th century, Seto Sometsuke ware's unique painting style was born, based on painting techniques that captured the nature and scenery of Seto.