Bizen YakiBizen Ware

The history of Bizen Yaki was old and has been already made in the Heian era. It is counted in one of Japanese six old kilns and is famous as earthenware (closely "fire strangely stone) in se device (" "se") with the history of 1,000 years nationwide.
The simplicity was loved from last years of Muromachi era by masters of tea ceremony and there were many tea service sets and came to be made.
When the Edo era began, there was protection of feudal clan, too and spread out in the whole country. Toyo Kaneshige and Kei Fujiwara, Toshu Yamamoto said to be initial "father of interest out of one of Bizen Yaki" of Showa received designation of living national treasure and continued favorable step.

Bizen is one of Japan's six most famous kilns with a history going back some one thousand years to the Heian period (794-1185), when this ware was already in production.
At the end of the Muromachi period (1392-1573), the rustic, undecorated qualities of this ware met with particular favor among the tea fraternity, resulting in the making of many tea bowls and other articles for tea ceremony use. Bizen Yaki became more widely known with the protection of the local clan from about the middle of the 18th century. And this ware has thrived ever since, with a number of Bizen potters including Kanashige Toyo, Fujiwara Kei, and Yamamoto Toshu being recognized officially as Living National Treasures in the early part of the Showa period (1926-1989).

The attributes of Bizen are many. Its natural look and warmth are expressive of the very earth from which it comes. Pieces of Bizen can also be used in so many ways. The delicate flavors of sake are not lost when stored in a Bizen flask and flowers in a Bizen vase last three times longer, while water kept in it remains fresh for much longer. But what is really special about Bizen Yaki is the happy accidents which occur during firing. It is, in a sense, a ""natural art"" as no two pieces of Bizen Yaki are the same, the accidents which happen during firing often producing unexpected changes of color and surface effect.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    Molding is thing by potter's wheel molding, tatara molding, direct copy molding or hand twist molding.

    When do design charge account of basis material, put spatula eyes, combed line, openwork; thing by charge account or "carving."

    When do coating soil, thing with "soil."

    Give fire; come, "sesame," is "lie down roast" or to let "blue Bizen" appear by burning "botamochi" "running out of crosspiece".

    Raw materials

    As for the potter's clay to use, it be said that we have materials which are equal to "Osafune black soil" or "mountain soil" or these "hiyose clay".

  • Work scenery

    Process 1: Collection of hiyose (soil of quality of clay)

    We gather soil of quality of clay called hiyose from place where we dug into the bottom of the rice field 2-3 meters. Soil of Bizen is sticky and is strong-minded, and the feature is that iron content is included in a good balance.

    Process 2: We work out chrysanthemum

    We knead refined potter's clay and perform to equalize clay, and to let air of the inside, and enter molding afterwards. We call chrysanthemum nerito from place to work out like chrysanthemum. It becomes work to considerably need physical strength if not used. (soil is important work to need the term of service to work out, and to be said to be three years.)

    Process 3: Molding

    (1) Hand twist
    We pile up on the molding stand and work out in objective form. Unique-shaped thing including teapot begins close molding after the rough molding. Finally we put covers which we molded beforehand together. Molding technique that Sue carving (father butterfly) makes ornament as transformation of hand twist. We say time to mold chicken and rabbit, animal, concrete thing including person. Writer who worked on abstract molding and avant-garde work using technique of Bizen came out recently.

    (2) Potter's wheel
    There are hand potter's wheel, * potter's wheel, electric potter's wheel on potter's wheel.
    Hand potter's wheel: Method to mold while turning potter's clay on turning potter's wheel stand. Hand potter's wheel was mainstream once.
    * potter's wheel: Potter's wheel to kick with foot, and to turn
    Electric potter's wheel: Most works use electric potter's wheel, but each can create unusual work recently as delicate adjustment was enabled.
    There is finish (molding) potter's wheel particularly.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 4: Spatula errand

    After the molding with potter's wheel, we incise various Fumi. In Bizen, we describe painting and do not paint with glaze (say bake). It is often found that thing to make with ornament, handicraft from model is finished on molding potter's wheel by spatula finally.

    Process 5: Kiln filling (pot filling)

    Writer devises maximum for kiln filling in Bizen Yaki entrusting all to flame while imaging figure of baking. We locate thing of various forms in a good balance without putting thing which thing surrounding straw, shape including thing not to surround have the same a lot in front of kama* kino. There are udo, first kiln, the second kiln, kedo, smoke play in structure of upbound kiln, and being baked is different in each by room. This is big characteristic of Bizen Yaki.

    Process 6: Ceremony of field firing

    The quality of work prays to God for field firing with a choice of lucky day to be selected by doneness and performs carefully. After raising congratulatory address, and having cleansed, it is instant of strain to perform with passion.

    Process 7: Burning

    We put firewood of Akamatsu who dried enough and continue lighting. The days to light vary according to size of kiln, but writer fights with fire all the time for 10-15 days without leaving in front of kiln while staring at color of a blaze. Flame varies from red to orange, white, and fierce fight is repeated in kiln.
    We may put charcoal at "malformed china" by charcoal on the way. Of difference, flame of place where Fumi whom flame made was employed hit; of, ash fall, and, as for the thing same with condition for one, there are none.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 8: Getting out kiln

    Getting out kiln finishes fight with flame and is moment tense most to take out ceramic ware which was born. It is complicated time when thought full of joys and sorrows is complicated for writer. We sort thing to take out as work here.

    Process 9: Finish

    It is improved with paper file and sandpaper, stone and is washed with water and we examine water leak including container and are completed as work.


  • Close-up

    Bizen where soil and flame still fight across tradition of 1,000 years

    Bizen Yaki which assumes earthen vessel made from Burial Mound age the origin. Tradition kiln on behalf of Japan has Bizen, Seto, Tokoname, Tamba, Shigaraki, Echizen and it is said to be six Old kilns (rokkoyo), but is kiln which is the oldest in our country.
    We make traditional pine split firewood fuel and bake slowly and carefully and close high quality potter's clay without hanging glaze. Simple temperaments that are produced by encounter of soil and flame, the fusion. It is quiet and displays and does not mean, but it is reliable and speaks with presence. It is the origin of the Japanese beauty and reason to be said.


    Natural plain beauty is feature of Bizen

    Even person that there was not much knowledge might have heard the name about Officially designated Traditional craft products once. With the history for 1,000 years, what is secret to attract people, and not to yet stop? It was Bizen Yaki writer in place there and called at Shozan Horie who was Chairperson Bizen Yaki Master of Traditional Crafts fair in cooperative association Okayama Bizen Yaki Sue friend meeting former directors. It is veterans more than this way 50 years to have many receiving a prize careers. As for "the Bizen Yaki, clay is made, and triple time of how to grill begins all together, and there is good thing. As soil almost life of Bizen Yaki is produced from the bottom of the rice field, it is called Tado (tatsuchi), but is produced only here. We include a lot of iron content, and particle is sticky finely." We mix black soil with mountain soil and seem to usually use after digging during winter, and having exposed to wind and rain for approximately 1-2 years. The nature beauty of soil taste of Bizen characteristic is born by baking using Akamatsu slowly for a long time without hanging glaze (we say we bake), and closing this.

    It is chrysanthemum neritoiu in sleeping like chrysanthemum. As it affects the quality of work, we perform well carefully

    Climate and the history and geographical factor showed Bizen Yaki to widely in the life

    "Bizen Yaki develops from the manufacturing method of earthen vessel of Burial Mound age, and ceramists move a lot to here Ibe from Oku in the Heian era, and it is said that current model was completed. It is along Sanyo Expressway to have comprised condition that is indispensable to the making of superior work such as high quality clay and red pine, warm climate, and sea route was near again and includes that ceramist moved to here Ibe. We comprised the characteristic from the early period of Kamakura era to the latter period and appeared in the world by the fashion of tea ceremony from the Muromachi era at a bound." Because Hideyoshi Toyotomi likes atmospheric texture of "Wabi" "rust" in Momoyama era in particular and recommended Bizen Yaki, it is made a lot perfect gem of tea Sue, and it is said that we invited time of the prosperity most. It seemed to become factor to distribute widely in the life to have had both transportation of military and naval forces. As for feudal lord Mitsumasa Ikeda protecting Bizen Yaki after the Edo era began, and recommending, and choosing master craftsman, and pottery giving provisions as artisan, and daily necessity such as liquor sake bottle, water jar, earthenware mortar, kind pot being produced abundantly, and Bizen Yaki having gone into life afterwards these days.

    Work which was completed. One one is the traditional splendor

    Bizen Yaki that the same article is not done as one, the traditional skill that we want to continue polishing

    "We fall, and Bizen Yaki provides expression of container of area and ash of flame in. Therefore doneness is different in little difference in how to put containers in kiln. You maintain flame thoroughly and must put container of various forms in kiln in a good balance little by little to give unique expression. We do not roast all the works completed in it and sort whether you bake. Besides, by one point is handmade because Bizen Yaki cannot play *komiseisan concerning clay (including potter's wheel molding). Therefore we cannot mass-produce."
    When lighting uses traditional ascending kiln like Horie, quenching is once a year, or kiln seems to be twice. Therefore we devote ourselves to the making of work for the day for half a year. It is the severe world where all the efforts of half a year become coming to naught if we fail. It is human empathy in this sense to want to roast all the works which made, but ...

    • Will it become work waiting for kiln filling, what kind of hue?

    • Traditional ascending kiln. We are overwhelmed to the size

    "There is or does one thing which we can be satisfied with when this was well-done so far whether there are two. There is thing to think not to be good if it is the next day even if we think that we are good then. We cannot be satisfied so as to make if we make. Depth of these depths is fun of this ceramic ware. It is study forever." We had you actually turn soil kneading on fire and potter's wheel on that day, but were surprised at expression having changed completely at moment when we touched clay. In vividness of the skill. When we returned, we had splendid container. If "it hands in this, and it cuts lips while polishing with file in the part eagerly as drinker had some rattling sounds, this is because it is in blot of Bizen." In spite of being calm tone, we felt importance of responsibility of industrial arts person who protected seriousness and tradition that only expert craftsman had for the words. Inherited tradition captures heart of people loving Bizen Yaki and will not separate in this way.

    Craftsman profile

    Shozan Horie (Hiroyuki Honna)

    1923, Kachidacho, Okayama birth.
    We enter pottery in 1937 and we build kiln in 1964 and are independent. We are familiar with handicraft.
    We produce vases, tea Sue mainly now. Sometimes as for the ornament. Sue, Bizen heart society first generation chairperson. Director of Okayama Bizen Yaki Sue friend society. Governor of skill person Okayama commendation excellent in receiving a prize career, labor, Minister of International Trade and Industry commendation, tradition exhibition, branch office exhibition, day ceramics exhibition, prefecture exhibition choice containing.


    Main malformed china

    Bizen Yaki is known for malformed china (yohen). Malformed china is change that glaze of basis material and nature of container causes by the situation in kiln accidentally. Action of nature born accidentally draws various Fumi.

    We introduce main malformed china.
    Sesame (sesame)
    Ash of kama* kinotokini firewood befell caliber and we melted at high temperature and became natural glaze (shizenyuu). Because we seemed to cover with sesame. Furthermore, we say thing which glaze works, and flowed with "ball sause". Running out of crosspiece (sangiri)
    Because we were buried among charcoal when container was put in kiln, and flame did not hit directly, it was burnt reducing flame the part, and it was in ash blue and gunmetal. Fire cord (we like fold)
    Iron content of soil of alkali ingredient and basis material included in straw which we surrounded so that containers were not close together in the case of kiln filling woke up chemical reaction, and red-brown sinew design occurred on the container surface. We write as scarlet cord. Botamochi (botamochi)
    Because fire and ash did not hit only there directly when we rode small thing on the large container and baked, design appeared red in form of container which we picked up. It is called "steamed bun omission". Blue Bizen (aobizen)
    Normal was burnt like red by oxidation burning, but it became reduction burning by positions of furnace, and iron content of basis material changed, and it was bluish baking. We may do burning of blue Bizen artificially.




Industrial art object name Bizen Yaki
Phonetic symbol bizenyaki
Classification of industrial art object Ceramics
Main product Tableware, bottle and cup, tea set, vase, ornament
Main production area Okayama / Bizen-shi, Okayama-shi, Setouchi-shi
The designation date November 1, 1982

Contact information

■local production associations

Cooperative association Okayama Bizen Yaki Sue friend society
1657-7, Inbe, Bizen-shi, Okayama
TEL: 0869-64-1001
FAX: 0869-64-1002

■We visit production center from foreign countries
Bizen Yaki - production center visit article

■Associated exhibit space, facility


Solid style, warmth to have of soil taste, good convenience are characteristic with simplicity, but it may be said that there is the biggest characteristic to malformed china (yohen). It is art of nature that identical work cannot make ni as for the Bizen Yaki for malformed china which is product of nature that color and the surface of grilled dish change by state in kiln when we bake suddenly.

The characteristics of these potteries include their rustic and solemn style, the warmth of their sheen and their ease of use, but their most distinctive feature can be said to be the deformations and color variations (“yohen”) taking place during firing. It’s these variations, that occur naturally and produce changes in the surface and in the color of the pottery, that make Bizen yaki natural works of art, no two of which are exactly the same.

How to make

We bake without Bizen Yaki not using glaze (we say we bake), and painting. Kiln is ascending kiln and period varies according to big things and small things of kiln, but continues burning firewood at high temperature of approximately 1,230 degrees using Akamatsu in fuel for around two weeks. Meanwhile, it is malformed china the surface of work catches high heat and action such as flame or ash in kiln, and to change.

Bizen yaki is baked without being glazed nor painted. Kilns used for baking are ascending kilns in which red pine is burnt to create a temperature of about 1230 degrees and though the exact period depends on the size of the kiln, wood will continue to be burnt for about two weeks before and after. The surface changes that will take place during that time in the pottery due to the combined effects of heat, flames and ash are the above mentioned “yohen” deformations.