Kutaniyaki (Kutani ware) is one of Japan's representative colored porcelains. When I visited the area where Kutaniyaki is produced, I was often impressed by the bold and gorgeous overglaze enameled in unique colors such as green, purple, and yellow, which is typical of Kutaniyaki.

Kutaniyaki was born in Kutani Village, Enuma County, Kaga Province, now Yamanaka Town, Kaga City, Ishikawa Prefecture, and is said to have been produced around 1665, when the Daishoji Clan discovered pottery stones used to make porcelain in Kutani Village during the development of a mine in their domain. Kutani ware produced during this period in the early Edo period is called "Ko-Kutani." However, for reasons that are still unclear, production of Ko-Kutani was discontinued only about 50 years after the kiln was opened.

For about 100 years after the kiln was closed, Kutaniyaki remained in a state of limbo, and Japanese pottery was dominated by Imariyaki. However, the success of the porcelain industry in Seto in the late Edo period led the Kaga Clan to invite Aoki Mokubei from Kyoto to open the Kasuga-yama Kiln in Kanazawa in 1806 (Bunka 3). Beginning with this, numerous kilns such as the Wakasugi Kiln and the Yoshidaya Kiln were established throughout the Kaga region, and Kutaniyaki underwent a revival. The products of these kilns are referred to as "Re-recreated Kutaniyaki." All of these kilns produced everyday items with the aim of becoming more industry-oriented, and the distinctive styles of each kiln are the origin of today's Kutaniyaki.

Kutaniyaki is known for its overglaze enamel. Uezashi refers to the technique of painting patterns with pigments on the glaze of ceramics after firing and re-firing and is widely used in Kutaniyaki and Aritayaki. The painting styles of Kutaniyaki include "Gosai-te" (commonly known as "Kutani Gosai"), in which five colors (red, yellow, green, purple, and navy blue) are used to draw picturesque and realistic patterns; "Aote", in which green, yellow, purple, and navy blue are used and the entire vessel is covered with colored pigments as in "Nuriume"; "Akae (Kinran)", in which red and gold are used to draw fine patterns (called "Hosogaki") on the entire vessel.

During my visit to several kilns, I felt that the industrial nature of Kutaniyaki and the detailed painting by craftsmen are major characteristics of Kutaniyaki, based on its production volume and production methods, but as mentioned above, each kiln has its own style of painting. I visited the "Kutaniyaki Art Museum" and "Kutanimangetsu" where you can see many Kutaniyaki works at once, so please compare works from different kilns and trace the roots and history of Kutaniyaki.

Kutaniyaki Art Museum
Kutani Mangetsu