2010/04/20 The homepage is now open.
|We introduce Handwork, traditional crafts, folk art and traditional foods
made by craftsmen in the Tohoku region of Japan ，
that have been handed down from generation to generation,
and sell them by mail order .
・・・We advocate Life with Japanese beauty.・・・
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|What is Shimotuke Country?
- Shimotsuke-no-Kuni (Shimotsuke country) was one of Japan's former regional administrative divisions, belonging to the Touzandou（East side of a mountain Province.）
- In the Engi-Shiki, the ratings are Jyoukoku and Taikoku. In the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, it says "associate superpower".
It is sometimes referred to as Shimotuke-shu or simply Yashu.
It is located in what is now the northern part of the Kanto region (North Kanto).
- The area is roughly the same as that of present-day Tochigi Prefecture,
with the addition of Kiryu City in Gunma Prefecture, which includes Kiryu
River and beyond.
- In the past, Tochigi Prefecture was completely identical to Shimotukenokuni,
but there were slight differences between the two prefectures when part
of Tochigi Prefecture was merged into Kiryu City in 1959 and 1968.
- In ancient times, the area of Shimotuke Kunizukuri (Kunizkuri was Shimouke no-kuni, now in the central and southern Tochigi prefecture) was established as Shimotuke no Kuni (Shimotsuke country).
- According to the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan), the ancestor of Shimotuke no-kuni is said to be Toyoshiro Iribiko-no-mikoto, the prince of Emperor Sojin.
In the 7th century, the area of Nasu Kunizukuri in the northeastern part of the country was combined, and the area to the present day was established.
- In 713 (Wado 6), the order on the name of towns and counties in the country was enforced, and the names of all countries were unified into two Chinese characters.
- At that time, the country became Shimotuke-no-kuni (the country of the
lower tsukes) to Shimotuke-no-kuni (the country of the lower tsukes). It
is now "Shimotuke" instead of "Shimoge", but the reading
is still "Shimotuke no Kuni" instead of "Shimotuke no Kuni".
- I would like to introduce my thoughts on handiwork, using a part of the book "Handiwork in Shimotuke" (Sui Sosha: Kashiwamura Yuji).
Foreword by Tadashi Kusakoda, former president of the Shimodano Handicraft
- In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the foundation of "Shimotuke Handicraft Association" which was established for the purpose of preservation and transmission of traditional handicrafts in Tochigi Prefecture, Mr. Kashiwamura will write "Handicraft in Shimono" which will be published.
- In the past, the work of our artisans existed because it was necessary
for people's daily lives. Since the industrial revolution, the rapid progress
of science, industry and technology has led to an era of mass production
and mass consumption, and the way of life has changed greatly. Difficult
times are ahead for those involved in manual labor.
- However, just as William Morris advocated the "British Craft Movement"
or the "Folk Art Movement" of Munemiti Yanagi and Shoji Hamada,
we believe in the potential of handcraft and strive to pass on the skills
passed down and cultivated by our predecessors to future generations, considering
that there were many pioneers who found deep meaning in the creation of
things by human hands. I...
|Pottery in Mashiko
- Mashiko ware is said to have its origin in 1853, when Keizaburo Otsuka,
who learned the Hakoda ware technique in Kasama, Ibaraki Prefecture, built
a kiln in Neogoya. Subsequently, Yahei Mita, a group magistrate of the
Kurobane Clan, who ruled the area, lent funds to six businesses to produce
kitchen utensils such as turtles, mortar bowls, and earthenware for the
clan's official kilns, which laid the foundation for Mashiko ware.
- In the middle of the Meiji era, earthenware bottles were at their height, especially those with a landscape design, but from the end of the Meiji era, the market became overly rough and overproduced, and the spread of gas in Tokyo, the largest market in Japan, combined with changes in citizens' lifestyles, to narrow the market.
- After that, demand for Mashiko ware increased again after the Great Kanto
Earthquake of 1923, and in 1923, Shoji Hamada, a folk art activist and
potter who came to Mashiko, introduced Mashiko ware to the world and created
a new type of Mashiko ware, and Mashiko ware became highly regarded.
- During the post-war period of rapid economic growth, Mashiko's proximity
to Tokyo, the muddy Mashiko-yaki movement, and the openness of the area
brought many artists to Mashiko to develop a variety of creative activities,
which led to a great leap forward in the development of today's Mashiko-yaki（Masiko
- Mashiko-yaki was originally made from clay and toppings from the local
area. The glaze is a mixture of natural stones and ashes, and is mainly
made of persimmon glaze, black glaze, candy glaze, bran white glaze, celadon
glaze, and ordinary white glaze, which produces red, black, brown, white,
and blue-green colors.
- The ornamentation was simple and rustic in taste, adapted to inexpensive kitchen utensils such as iron painting, waxwork, and sink.
- Inspired by the simplicity and healthfulness of Mashiko ware, Hamada Shoji established a new form of Mashiko ware as a folk art form, using the same materials and the same climbing kiln as before, but making the most of his mastery of artistry, knowledge and techniques.
- Since then, Mashiko ware has developed in a vibrant and diverse manner, with some kilns inheriting Hamada Shoji's Mingei Mashiko ware, while others have mechanized and mass-produced Mashiko ware in response to growing demand. -From Zui Sosha (The Handiwork of Shimotuke, written by Kashiwamura Yuji)-
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