Satomi Shimodake - Kokuji ware

the photo of Shimodate who owns Kokuji ware

Kokuji ware is located in Kuji City, Iwate Prefecture, in northern Japan.

As is the case with many ceramists, Satomi Shimodake was born into a family of potters. However, Satomi Shimodake did not start making pottery until he was already in his mid-twenties. Until then, Shimodake never had a formal education in pottery making, but through his careful observation and hard work, he succeeded in inheriting the family kiln. Shimodake specializes in Kokuji ware, the craft exclusive to Kuji, Iwate Prefecture.

Kokuji ware dates back to the late Edo period (1603-1868) when the local people created pottery using the clay and glaze from Kuji. This clay was shaped into various kinds of household tableware, and records show that it was commonly delivered to the local government.

Later, in the Meiji period (1868-1912), Yanagi Muneyoshi, founder of the mingei movement, visited the area and highly praised Kokuji ware, bringing popularity to the craft.

Even though Kokuji ware has lasted for hundreds of years, Shimodake is aware that for the craft to continue , change must happen. However, even while changing the form of Kokuji ware, Shimodake continues to use the local clay and glaze as the basis of his craft, believing in the balance of innovation and tradition. He hopes that his vessels, nurtured by the land, will accompany people in their daily life. With this in mind, he makes each piece by hand with care and precision.