• Tanbun gama Image

Artifact Information

Artifact NameTanba Tachikui-yaki : ware
History Tanba-yaki is a type of Japanese earthenware, well known for being produced from one of the six remaining kilns ( Seto, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Bizen, Echizen and Tanba) of olden Japan. Its origin stem from the late Heian era to the beginning of the Kamakura era (around 1000 years ago).
The hole type kiln was used until Momoyama era (1568~), but the Korea-type, semiground "ascending kiln" was introduced around 1611. At the same time, a left turning potter's wheel (exclusive to Tachikui Village in Japan) was adopted and is still used to this day. After Tanba Kuitachi-yaki and its craftsmen were patronized by Shinoyama Domain, several craftsmen, Naosaku, Ichifusa, Kayu, and Ichiko, rose to fame.
The fierce, yet friendly nature of their competition allowed Tanba Tachikui-yaki to become popular and gain an audience. In 1978, Tanba Tachikui-yaki was designated as a traditional craft by the nation.

The Traditional Craftsman Profile

Craftsman Name
Fumihiro Onishi ( The 3rd generation of Tanbun gama )
  • 1951 Born in the Shinoyama, Hyogo Prefecture.
  • 1978 Built a kiln, Group gama and started a ceramic festival for the first time.
  • 2002 Commended by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
  • 2009 Assumed the position of the chief director of Tanba Ceramics Co-op.
Craftsman Name
Masafumi Onishi ( The 4th generation of Tanbun gama )
  • 1980 Born as the 4th successor of Tanbun gama in the Shinoyama, Hyogo Prefecture.
  • 2000 Graduated from Osaka University of Arts Junior College Design and Art Depatment.
    Started training at Kasentoen by Master Kato in Seto, Aichi.
  • 2004 Started making his works an Tanbun gama under the wing of Master Onishi who is also his father.
  • 2005 Held the first exhibition on his own at Yamatoyashiki Department Store in Kakogawa, Hyogo.
    Enrolled in Group gama that is opened by his father.
  • 2006 Held an exhibition at SOGO Department Store in Kobe, Hyogo.
    Present Energetically making his works and holding exhibitions.

An ascending kiln

An ascending kiln is a traditional ceramic furnace built along the topography of slopes. The inner workings of the ascending kiln consist of several divided compartments. The process of convenction in conjunction with gravity's natural powers enable the extremely high temperatures within these compartments to constantly keep running. This method allows large quantities of pottery to be fired at the same time. In other words, there are no irregularities among any of the fired products.


Yohen image When pottery is fired in an ascending kiln at 1,300 degrees celcius for 60 hours, it is natural for the ashes from the burning firewood to cover it. The aftermath of the hot glaze and ashes melding together creates unique colors and patterns on the pottery known as YOHEN. Yohen is one of the most special characteristics of Tanba-yaki. Although Tanba-yaki was created for the daily use of average citizens, their pieces are so well made, that some people enjoy collecting them as fineart.