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Bankoware is the representative pottery from Yokkaichi City in Mie Prefecture and is highly heat resistant due to the use of petalite. As a representative local industry in Yokkaichi City in Mie Prefecture, it was designated as a traditional craft in January 1979. The heat resistant earthen pots and teapots are well-known, and about 80% of earthen pots in Japan are produced here. A variety of products, such as ceramic plates, Tajine pots, rice pots, and charcoal stoves, have been developed. The heat-resistant earthen pot can be used for water-free cooking or cooking on an open flame, such as on a gas or charcoal stove. The heat resistant property is due to the properties of lithium ore in the clay that can reach 40-50%, giving the pots sufficient strength to withstand water-free cooking or direct flame.
Currently, IH-compatible earthen pots for induction cookers are also being manufactured by using advanced technology. For example, rice cooked in a rice pot made using the clay tastes excellent and has the original sweetness and aroma that are not present when using an electric jar.
Bankoware has a long history, and it was developed by Nunami Rouzan, who had a keen interest in literature, in the Edo period (it is now known as Kobanko). After Kobanko ceased to exist, various places tried to revive it, and the Yokkaichi Bankoware started to appear around the end of the Edo period and was established as a local industry during the Meiji period. After that, various products were developed using new technology, such as semi-porcelain hard ceramics.
During the Meiji period, Yamanaka Chuzaemon and others popularized the study on Western tableware, such as Western plates and coffee cups, and taught the local people how to make them. When Japan entered the Showa era, the Banko ware industry declined temporarily due to the depletion of the soil suitable to be used as the clay for Banko ware. However, the industry started gaining momentum again after World War II. By around 1959, a ceramic clay that does not break even when exposed to extremely high temperature was developed, and Yokkaichi Banko ware gained significant domestic market share through the production of its “unbreakable earthen pot”.
At the 42nd G7 summit (Ise-Shima Summit), which was held in 2016, Banko ware sake cups were used during the ceremonial toast by the country leaders.
A “Banko-Shrine” was built in Yokkaichi that houses the monuments of Mori and Yamanaka. At present, the Banko ware festival is held on the weekends of May, and various pottery products are sold there.
About Yamanaka Lacquerware
Lacquerware is a craft that is made by coating an object with lacquer and has various uses, such as for daily items, luxury goods, and tableware, and others. It is usually used as tableware, and objects that are covered with lacquer can last much longer. Japanese lacquerware is known for its unique elegance and beauty, and the world calls it “Japan”, a symbol of Japanese culture.
Yamanaka Lacquerware is a type of lacquerware produced in the Yamanaka hot spring area in Kaga City, Ishikawa Prefecture. It is registered as an intangible cultural asset designated by Ishikawa Prefecture.
It was first known as a souvenir for the guests of Yamanaka hot spring during the Tensho Era (1573-1592) of the Azuchi–Momoyama period. Since the middle of the Edo period, the introduction of coating and Maki-e techniques from Aizu, Kyoto, and Kanazawa, combined with woodworking allowed the development of various types of lacquerware, such as tea ceremony utensils.
There are three processes in the production of lacquerware: woodworking, coating, and Maki-e (sprinkling with powdered metal).
The coating process is further divided into the base and top coat. Ishikawa Prefecture has three lacquerware production areas, and Yamanaka Lacquer is said to have the best technique in shaping wood into various products in Japan. It is possible to enjoy the soft texture and beautiful glaze of lacquerware made by highly-skilled craftsmen. Also, the traditional Maki-e technique will make everyone feel rich just by looking at it.
Movie of manufacturing process (Linked to Yamanaka Lacquerware)