There have been many pottery produced from ancient times in Japan.

This time, we are going to introduce the most used pottery ware in Japan: Mino ware.

What is Mino ware?

Mino ware is the pottery produced in and around the towns of Tajimi, Toki and Mizunami in the Tono region, Gifu

Mino ware should certainly be available in most households, as more than 60% of tableware produced in Japan is Mino ware.

Features of Mino ware

The most remarkable feature of Mino ware is that “There is no feature”.

Unlike other pottery brands, there are no certain techniques or rules to produce Mino ware. We call the pottery products “Mino ware” simply because they were produced in Mino. To be extreme, any pottery products could be Mino ware, no matter how they are produced or what designs are painted. Therefore, there are no features of Mino ware.

The most famous pottery of many Mino ware products is called “Momoyama style”.

The Momoyama style pottery has various types such as “Shino” that was first dyed in the Taisho era, “Oribe” that was named after Sen-Rikyu’s disciple Watabe who’d loved it, “Kizeto” that is famous for teaware and has been used by tea experts from ancient times, and “Setoguro” that is famous for teaware with the stable bottoms.

Although they have different characteristics, they are all called Mino ware as they are all produced in Mino.

Having no rules doesn’t mean that the quality is not as good as others brands’: There are 15 types of Mino ware designated as Japanese traditional crafts. They have good reputations as they are made to be easily used on a daily basis and designed according to the time and trends.

History of Mino ware

The history of Mino ware is 1500 years.

From the Kofun period, when Sue pottery originated, to the Heian period

Mino ware is one of the pottery that originated based on Sue pottery that had been produced in the Kofun period, and gradually changed while spreaded out in many places.

In the Heian period, pottery with glaze like Chinese pottery got to be produced and became popular especially in the noble class, and that ended up resulting in distributing tableware nationwide.

From the Aduchi-Momoyama period, when Mino ware became sensational, to the Edo period

The main types of Mino ware that are “Shino”, “Kiseto” and “Setoguro” originated in the Momoyama period, when the tea ceremony had been popular.

Many Miino porcelain masterpieces that would be historically valuable were made under the preservation of Oda Nobunaga, which were also favorites of Sen-Rikyu and Furuta Oribe

In the Meiji era, when the phantom porcelain originated.

In the Meiji era, the Mino potters got to be highly evaluated in foreign countries, which expanded the exportation of Mino ware.

At the same time, they focused on producing porcelain products, which was when porcelain with delicate design painted and dyed on the surface originated. This would later be the phantom porcelain called “Nishiura porcelain”.

Nishiura porcelain was highly valued both in and out of Japan as it had won an award at the Paris Expo, but it came to an end due to some reasons such as lack of successors.

After, the population of Mino ware producers and factories continued to grow, and now Mino ware is the biggest pottery brand and became 60% of tableware market share.

January 08, 2023