Ceramics is a catch-all term that refers to a range of hard, brittle, materials formed by firing non-organic and non-metallic materials, such as clay, at a high temperature. Ceramics are both heat and corrosion-resistant, making them ideal for making plates, bowls, cups, serving pots, and other forms of tableware. Popular forms of ceramic include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and bone china.
Japanese ceramics refers specifically to ceramics produced using traditional methods developed on the islands of Japan. Japanese ceramics are considered to be some of the best in the world, often being beautifully painted and glazed prior to firing.
There are many varieties of pottery that are native to Japan. These are just a few of the most popular, that are still in production today.
Kiseto has a yellow colour, resulting from thin, raw clay being coated in a light ash glaze prior to baking. There are two types of Kiseto pottery. The first is thin, glazed, and well-baked, decorated with stamped or carved flower patterns, prior to firing. The other form of Kiseto uses a thicker clay, devoid of decoration, but incorporating a shiny gloss.
The Setoguro technique was developed during the Tensho period (1573-1592), which is why it is sometimes referred to as Tenshoguro. It uses an iron glaze baked at around 1200 degrees and then cooled rapidly to produce its distinctive, glossy black colour.
Shino (or shino ware) is a form of white pottery, deeply-coated with feldspathic glazes and baked at a high temperature. The clay has small holes in it that allow the natural scarlet colour to seep out during baking. Shino is a popular form of ceramic production, with many sub-varieties. These include Mujishino (just clay and glaze), Eshino (painted with iron oxide pigments), and Nezumishino (iron oxide is bound into the clay, then coated with a glaze).
Japanese ceramics are beautiful to look at, thanks largely to the decoration techniques employed by their manufacturers. These are some of the more popular methods used.
This decoration technique creates fine cracks in the pottery during the glazing process. The cracks are made as the clay expands and shrinks during firing and cooling. Some manufacturers choose to emphasise the crack pattern by incorporate reds and blacks into the glaze.
Icchin is performed by squeezing glaze out of a pipe, directly onto the pottery, in a manner not dissimilar to decorating a cake. This results in solid, three-dimensional patterns, allowing much variety in shading and texture.
This involves drawing patterns on white clay using a pigment called gosu, which turns indigo during the baking process. This pigment is coated with a transparent glaze prior to firing.
There are many types of Japanese tableware that you can purchase for your home or restaurant. Some of the most popular items include:Rice Bowl (Ochawan or Chawan) – individual bowls for each person for holding rice
This is an individual tea or coffee pot, perfect for steeping a number of hot drinks. Its integrated strainer lid, ensures that no errant tea leaves or coffee grounds escape into the hot water.
This is a large, blue bowl with a ribbed texture on its outer side and a light speckle pattern, similar to egg shell. Capable of holding up to 820ml of liquid, it is perfect or serving ramen, or a wide variety of soups.
Here at SushiSushi, we source our Japanese ceramics from some of the most well-respected and established producers in Japan. These include:
Tobaya is a Japanese vinegar producer that has been in business for over 300 years. They use traditional methods to produce their vinegars, using only the highest quality ingredients and carefully controlling the fermentation process to ensure the best flavour and quality.