New Discovery in Japan - IWATE Prefecture (2) in TOHOKU Region

June 6, 2015


There is one topic related to household ironwares such as kettles which is hand-made with Japanese traditional craftmanship.  Today, I like to introduce to you about "NAMBU TEKKI" (Nambu Ironware) traditionally famous in "Oshu" and "Morioka" cities in Iwate prefecture.  



For an instance, it takes about six-month or more that a veteran craftman could only complete a piece of Iron's kettle based on produce-to-order.   Hence, the piece price is quite as high as US$1,000 or further, subject to special order request.  Definitely, the quality of the handmade ironware is really splendid for customer's full satisfication. 



"NAMBU TEKKI" started in the mid-17th century, just after Nambu Toshinao, who iwas a Lord of the Nambu clan and ruler in the northen Iwate, had completed to build Kozukata Castle in Morioka. As part of his town building and cultural promotion efforts, he invited casters and kettle craftsmen from Kyoto and other locations to work for him. These artisans created Buddhist items, armor, and weapons, as well as teakettles to spread the practice of the tea ceremony. Eventually, daimyos and even the Shogunate in Edo began to prize these items as gifts, and "NAMBU TEKKI" ironware became one of Morioka’s top selling products. 



The technique suffered a huge blow during World War II due to restrictions on iron usage and artisans getting pulled into the military.  After World War II period, it had continued to be diffiuclt for survival as business, since the aluminum and other new materials began was newly developed.  In spite of a decrease in demand,  "NAMBU TEKKI" ironware from Moriaka and Oshu’s Mizusawa district was designated an official traditional craft product in 1975.



Again, "NAMBU TEKKI" ironware is one of the great craftman's techniques still maintained in Japan, which can be proudly promoted to the world today and in the future.   If you are interested in such Japanese traditional craftmanship, you may check and understand the culutural values in Japan. 















































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