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Views of Mino

 
Sanyu Seitojo ceramic factory  

 

Mino is located in the southern part of Gifu prefecture. Once known as Mino no kuni, or the province of Mino, the region has a long and rich history of ceramics, which have been made in the area since the seventh century. It was in the late sixteenth century, however, that ceramic production began to truly blossom in Mino. At that time, potters from the ancient ceramics center of Seto nearby settled in Mino and started making Kizeto and Setoguro ware (based on earlier Seto stoneware ceramics), as well as Shino and Oribe ware, all ceramics that were highly admired by practitioners of the tea ceremony. ​

For the next two hundred years, the potters of Mino continued to create wares that skillfully blended a high aesthetic sensibility with functionality, from tea ceremony ceramics to dishes, bowls, and other utilitarian vessels for daily use. In the nineteenth century, Mino potters began using porcelain clay to make housewares, including dishes that were decorated with underglaze cobalt blue designs as well as colorful overglaze enamels. Some of these designs were hand-painted onto the vessels, but the kilns also excelled at various types of printed decoration, including copperplate transfers. ​

By the mid-twentieth century, improved technology and mass-production techniques enabled Mino to become Japan’s leading ceramics region. Mino currently produces 90 percent of the country’s porcelain ramen bowls. The Ceramic Valley of Mino is known for its ability to innovate and adapt to contemporary needs and now creates many ceramic styles, including fifteen styles listed as traditional regional handicrafts. 

Sanyu Seitojo
 

Sanyu Seitojo Ceramic Factory
Cords of clay set to become ramen bowls

 
Sanyu Seitojo
 

Sanyu Seitojo Ceramic Factory
Finishing the rim of a ramen bowl

 
Marunishi Nagae Shouten
 

Akamaki process, Marunishi Nagae Shouten
Ceramic Studio

Akamaki is the process of painting the outside of a ramen bowl using a turntable and brush. The process name "akamaki" comes from the fact that in Japan, many ramen bowls are red, "aka" in Japanese, and "maki" means roll or turn.

 
Marunishi Nagae Shouten
 

Akamaki process, Marunishi Nagae Shouten
Ceramic Studio

 
Sanyu Seitojo
 

Sanyu Seitojo Ceramic Factory
Applying a design to a ramen bowl with a transfer sheet

 
Sanyu Seitojo
 

Sanyu Seitojo Ceramic Factory
Seyū glazing process

 
Kanesada Seito
 

Seyū process, Kanesada Seito Ceramic Factory
Seyū is a step in the glazing process, in which yūyaku (glaze) is applied for a shiny luster.
 

 
Clay mine in Tajimi City
 

Clay mine, Tajimi City
This mine supplies clay to ceramic factories manufacturing tableware, tile, and plumbing fixtures. However, good quality clay suitable for tableware is becoming increasingly scarce.

 
Seihouen ceramic factory
 

Seihouen Ceramic Factory
Sake bottle production

 
Maruasa Porcelain Factory
 

Maruasa Porcelain Factory
Mug production process

 
Shigeki Mizuno, Suigetsu Gama kiln
 

Kiln master Shigeki Mizuno, Suigetsu Gama Kiln,
Tajimi City

Shigeki Mizuno succeeded "Suigetsu Gama" (an intangible cultural property of Tajimi City) built by Toyozo Arakawa. Toyozo Arakawa (1894-1985) was a Living National Treasure.

 
Kobei Gama kiln
 

Kobei Gama Kiln
Sake and salt are offered to the god of fire as a prayer for a safe workplace.

 
Arakawa Toyozo Museum
 

Arakawa Toyozo Museum
Kiln tools from around 400 years ago

 
Kojin Gama kiln
 

Kojin Gama Kiln

 
Tokigawa River
 

Tokigawa River

 

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