Tougen Tokoname Chatsubo

Potter: Tokoname craftsman Tougen

Approximate size: W4.7″ by H6.3″ or 7.9 by 16.0 cm

Tokoname City in Aichi Prefecture has been a centre of pottery creation for centuries. It has the longest history among Japan’s six ancient kilns and is characterized by its iron-rich red clay which are fired using oxidation.

This is a chatsubo or tea jar by retired Tokoname craftsman Tsuzuki Hisashi (Tougen), (1939-). This is a larger type tea container typically used for the leaves of sencha, a Japanese type of green tea. However it can adequately keep your leaves fresh regardless of your choice of tea. On the exterior there are 3 poems engraved. There is a expertly crafted ‘spacer’ for this jar and the lid. Easy in use and highly practical. The spacer set in between the lid and body is of excellent make and fits great which is very important for the longevity of the stored goods as it minimises the amount of oxygen that can reach the tea leaves.

Seto, Echizen, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Tamba, and Bizen are referred to as the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan. The development of these kilns and pottery techniques, some dating to the prehistoric Jomon period, have been preserved and represent an important contribution to the world of ceramics. In these towns, evocative remnants of large and small kilns still dot the hills surrounding the towns, while maze-like backstreets, artfully decorated with walls of ceramic shards and kiln tools, lead to numerous ceramic studios. Walking through the narrow alleyways, led on by the smoke rising from brick-walled chimneys is to rediscover the elegant simplicity of Japanese aesthetics and feel the traditions and history of these ancient kilns.

Tokoname ware is famous for its unglazed wares of which kyusu, handmade tea pots are the prime examples of its craftsmanship. This jar has been engraved with 3 famous Waka poems.




Pottery made in Tokoname dates back to the 12th century. During the Heian period, what is now called Tokoname ware was already part of daily life. A kiln known as the Takasaka kiln was built in the 14th century. Towards the end of the Edo period in the late 19th century, Koie Hokyu completed a chambered “climbing kiln” (nobori-gama). The excellent reputation of modern Tokoname ware was established by his son Koie Hoju. He laid the foundations for earthenware pipe making and introduced the red ware for which the town became renowned. A statue was later put up in the town in his honour.

This chatsubo has no chips or cracks and is in excellent condition. It comes with the original, older style paulownia tomobako or storage box with kiln stamp and calligraphy on the lid.

€175 + shipping cost