Kumamoto’s modern ceramics industry began about 400 years ago. When the Hosokawa family moved to Higo Province (now Kumamoto) in 1632, potters also settled in the area and built kilns. Koda ware from Yatsushiro and Shodai ware from Arao and Tamana developed under the patronage of the Higo Domain, primarily producing ceramics used in traditional tea ceremony. In addition to these, there was Matsubase ware from Uki, Oda ware from Uto (Higo Domain’s only porcelain ware), and Mizunodaira, Takahama, and Maruo wares from Amakusa.
Shodai ware originated about 400 years ago in northern Kumamoto. It became an official pottery kiln of the Higo Domain in the Edo Period and made ceramic cups used in traditional tea ceremony as well as various wares used ineveryday life.
Shodai clay has high iron content and is full of pebbles. Straw and wood ash is used in the glaze to create a simple yet dynamic style.
In the Amakusa region, porcelain ware is made using the region’s abundant porcelain stone (of which Amakusa is the top producer in the country), and earthenware is made using local clay deposits.
The production of porcelain ware in the region started 340 years ago, while the production of earthenware started 250 years ago. White porcelain pieces with a translucent quality as well as unique earthenware pieces are made in abundance.
Koda ware first started being made in Yatsushiro City in 1632 during the early Edo Period. The designs are made not by painting, but rather by embedding white kaolin into the motifs carved into the clay.
The pottery is fired after applying a transparent glaze, and turns a slight teal color due to the iron content in the clay.