Repost on Japanese terminology

logo name morgan pitelka • email • blog 

asian studies • occidental college

japanese ceramics terminology

    Below you will find rough definitions for a number of words commonly used in discussions of Japanese ceramics. I suggest using English equivalents whenever possible. If neccessary, give the Japanese term in italics with an English definition in parentheses.

    If you have suggestions, comments, or criticism, please email me.

    NOTE: Accent marks over vowels indicate long vowels. For example, the “ô” in “ôgama” indicates that the “oh” sound is two times longer than the normal “oh” vowel. Otherwise each syllable should be given equal weight.

    Sources include Louise Cort, Seto and Mino Ceramics (University of Hawaii Press, 1992); Louise Cort. Shigaraki, Potters’ Valley (Kodansha, 1979); Sekai tôji zenshû [Catalog of world ceramics] (Shôgakukan, 1975); Penny Simpson, Lucy Kitto, and Kanji Sodeoka, The Japanese Pottery Handbook (Kodansha, 1979); Tôki daijiten [Great dictionary of ceramics] Tôki Zenshû Kankôkai, ed. (Gogatsu Shobô, 1980; reprint of 1934 edition); Richard Wilson, Inside Japanese Ceramics (Weatherhill, 1995)

    NEW PAGE: Japanese names for tea cups and tea bowls

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    Agano: Japanese ceramic ware produced in Fukuchiyama on the island of Kyushu (southern Japan, present-day Fukuoka Prefecture); begun by Korean potters in late 16th to early 17th centuries; easily confused with Karatsu ware; see “Takatori”

    ame: amber glaze

    anagama: sloping tunnel kiln; imported from China, first used in Japan around fifth century

    Arita: Japanese porcelain ware produced in Arita on the island of Kyushu (southern Japan, present-day Saga Prefecture); location of discovery of first porcelain deposit in Japan, by Korean potters in 17th century; center of the porcelain industry in Japan

    Asahi: Japanese high-fired ceramic ware produced in the city of Uji, south of Kyoto; originated in late 16th to early 17th centuries

    Bizen: Japanese unglazed, high-fired ceramic ware produced in the city of Bizen (town of Imbe, present-day Okayama Prefecture); known for long firings in climbing kilns, with resulting heavy ash deposits and other effects; originated in 12th century

    cha: tea

    chadamari: “tea pool” in the bottom of a tea bowl

    chadô: the way of tea

    chaire: tea caddy; small container used to hold powdered tea (matcha)

    chanoyu: the tea ceremony

    chatô: tea ceramics

    chawan: tea bowl

    Echizen: Japanese unglazed, high-fired ceramic ware produced in Echizen domain (present-day Fukui Prefecture), influenced by the Sue wares of the Heian Period (794-1192)

    fude: brush

    gosu: natural cobalt, or asbolite

    guinomi: sake cup

    Hagi: Japanese high-fired ceramic ware produced in Hagi in southwestern Japan (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture); famous for milky, white-glazed teawares; originated in late 16th to early 17th centuries with Korean potters

    hakeme: slip brushing

    hanaire: flower vase

    haniwa: ceramic figurines produced during the 4th to 7th centuries, C.E.; these figurines marked the surface of above-ground tombs; see “kofun”

    hebigama: snake kiln (also called “jagama”)

    Hizen: broad term for Japanese ceramics and porcelains produced in the Hizen domain on the island of Kyushu (present-day Nagasaki and Saga Prefectures) during the Tokugawa Period (1603-1868)

    Iga: Japanese unglazed, high-fired ceramic ware produced in the Iga domain (present-day Mie Prefecture) beginning in the 16th century

    ikebana: flower arranging

    Imari: Japanese porcelain wares produced in Arita, named “Imari” after the port from which they were shipped to other Japanese cities, Southeast Asia, and Europe during the Tokugawa Period (1603-1868); see “Arita” and “Hizen”

    jiki: porcelain

    Jômon: coil/slab-built, cord-marked, low-fired ceramic wares of prehistoric Japan; first made on Japanese archipelago around 10,000 years ago

    Karatsu: Japanese high-fired ceramic ware produced in Karatsu and surrounding areas on the island of Kyushu (southern Japan, present-day Saga and Nagasaki Prefectures); originated in 16th century with Korean potters

    Kenzan: Japanese high-fired ceramic ware produced largely in Kyoto; founded by Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743) a poet, painter, calligrapher, and potter who specialized in elegant brushwork on ceramic forms; see “Kyôyaki”

    ke-rokuro: kick wheel

    ki-seto: “yellow seto”; Japanese high-fired ceramic ware; glaze is yellowish in color, perhaps began as an attempt to produce celadon glaze; originated in 16th century; see “seto”

    ko: “old,” “historical.” Used as a prefix, as in Kogaratsu (old Karatsu ware), Koseto (old Seto ware) Koimari (old Imari ware), and so on.

    Koishiwara: Japanese high-fired ceramic ware produced in Koishiwara on the island of Kyushu (southern Japan, present-day Fukuoka Prefecture); originated in Agano wares and Takatori wares in 17th century; see “Agano,” Takatori,” and “Onta”

    Kutani: Japanese porcelain ware produced in the Kaga domain (present day Ishikawa Prefecture) beginning in the 17th century

    Kyôyaki: “Kyoto ceramics”; Japanese high-fired and porcelain wares produced in Kyoto; originated in 17th century; see “Kenzan”

    maki: firewood, pieces of wood

    Mashiko: name of a town outside of Tokyo that has become famous as a folk-craft village, pottery community, and home of Hamada Shoji,

    matcha: powdered green tea for the tea ceremony; see “sencha”

    mingei: folk craft or folk art; the Folk Craft Movement (Mingei undô) was started by Yanagi Sôetsu (1889-1961; also Yanagi Muneyoshi)

    Mino: Japanese high-fired ceramic ware produced in the Seto and Mino domains (Gifu Prefecture); famous for production of shino, yellow seto, black seto, and oribe; originated in late 16th century

    mishima: slip inlay

    mizusashi: water jar; a lidded fresh water container used in the tea ceremony

    neriage: patterned loaves of colored clays

    nerikomi: marbling with colored clays

    noborigama: multichambered climbing kiln; appropriated from Korea or China in early seventeenth century

    ôgama: “great kiln”; wide, sloped, single-chamber kiln with side door; originated in Seto/Mino region in early 16th century

    Ôhi: Japanese low-fired ceramic ware produced in Ôhi, near Kanazawa, in the Kaga domain (present-day Ishikawa Prefecture) by the Ôhi family; founded in 1666 by the potter Chôzaemon, a worker in the Raku workshop in Kyoto; wares (mostly tea bowls and other tea ceramics) are similar to those produced by the Raku family, but are famous for their amber (ame) glaze

    Onta: Japanese high-fired ceramic ware produced in the town of Onta on the island of Kyushu (southern Japan, present-day Fukuoka Prefecture); origins in Agano wares and Takatori wares in 17th century; see “Koishiwara”

    oribe: Japanese high-fired ceramic ware; this term (named after the tea master and warrior, Furuta Oribe, 1545-1615) has come to be applied to a wide range of ceramics; general characteristics include rectangular and circular shapes, use of clear glaze, white slip, underglaze brush work, and a dark green copper glaze; originated around 1600; see “seto”

    Raku: Japanese low-fired ceramic ware produced in Kyoto by the Raku family; famous for tea bowls and food dishes for use in the tea ceremony; originated in the late 16th century; this term also applies to wares made by a wide variety of amateur and professional potters in the tea community

    rokuro: wheel (for making pots); see kerokuro and terokuro

    sake: a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice; this term also refers to alcoholic beverages in general

    Sanage: a Japanese ash-glazed, high-fired ceramic ware produced in Sanage, Aichi Prefecture; inspired by Chinese celadons; originated around the 9th century; see “Tokoname”

    sansai: three-color ware; originated in China around the 8th century, A.D.

    sara: plate

    Satsuma: a Japanese high-fired ceramic ware produced in southern Kyushu (southern Japan); originated in 17th century with Korean potters

    seiji: celadon; loosely refers to a wide range of blue and green feldspathic glazed wares; originated in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1270), and spread throughout East and Southeast Asia

    sencha: steeped tea (as opposed to the powdered tea of the tea ceremony); see “matcha”

    Seto: Japanese high-fired ceramic ware produced in the Seto and Mino domains (Gifu Prefecture); famous for production of shino, yellow seto, black seto, and oribe; originated in late 16th century

    seto-guro: black seto; Japanese high-fired ceramic ware; Japan’s first truly black glaze, made when iron glazed pots were removed when red-hot; originated in late 16th century; see “seto”

    Shigaraki: Japanese high-fired, unglazed ceramic ware produced in Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture; famous for ash deposits and distinctive forms; originated around 12th century, spread from Tokoname and Atsumi

    shino: Japanese high-fired ceramic ware produced in the Seto and Mino domains (Gifu prefecture); consists of a white, secondary clay body covered by a milky-translucent ash/feldspar glaze; the term eshino (picture shino) indicates wares with iron-oxide designs applied under the shino glaze; nezumi shino (grey shino) indicates wares with designs carved into an iron slip, with the entire piece covered in the shino glaze.

    Sueki: high-fired ceramic ware produced in Japan by potters who immigrated from Korea (and possibly China?); originated around the 4th century, B.C.; led to the spread of high-fired ceramic production throughout Japan; early wares were not glazed, but blackened; later glaze technology arrived from Tang China, leading to the use of lead-based glazes on low-fire wares, and feldspar-based glazes on high-fire wares

    sûyaki: bisque firing

    Takatori: Japanese ceramic ware produced in Chikuzen domain on the island of Kyushu (southern Japan, present-day Fukuoka Prefecture); begun by Korean potters in late 16th to early 17th centuries; see “Agano”

    takebai: bamboo ash

    Tamba: Japanese ceramic ware

    temmoku: Japanese term for a type of tea bowl produced in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279); known for a variety of black, brown, tan, and blue glazes, and a distinctive shape with a flaring mouth and narrow base; these tea bowls were also produced in Japan beginning in the Kamakura Period (1192-1336)

    teppôgama: rifle kiln

    te-rokuro: hand wheel

    tôgei: ceramic arts

    tôji: ceramics, clay

    tôjiki: ceramics (literally ceramic and porcelain objects; see also jiki)

    tôki: ceramics (specifically, ceramic objects)

    tokkuri: bottle, flask: usually used to hold sake

    Tokoname: a Japanese high-fired, ash-glazed ceramic ware produced in the region of Sanage, (present-day Aichi Prefecture); inspired by Chinese celadons; originated around the 9th century; see Sanage and Atsumi

    tsubo: storage jar

    yakimono: pottery

    Yayoi: low-fired ceramic wares made on the Japanese archipelago during the period ca 300 B.C.E. to ca 300 C.E.; differentiated from Jômon ceramics on the basis of a finer-grained clay body, a smooth, thin, symmetrical, and less ornamented style, the aesthetic influence of cast metal, and the appearance of gendered production patterns

    yunomi: tea cup

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      ©2006 morgan pitelka

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      Comments
      One Response to “Repost on Japanese terminology”
      1. hee, hee. asahi is or used to be a brand of beer. this list is very helpful, thank you.

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