Sunday, May 22, 2011

KODA YAKI (高田焼き)-Ceramics of Kumamoto Prefecture

Koda pottery is made in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture. It is a celadon style of pottery after the Korean style, with a grayish greenish-blue crackle glaze, usually with a white inlay pattern. Some kilns include, Agano-gama (上野窯),  Denshichi-gama (伝七窯), Ryugen-gama (竜元窯) and Yatsushiro-gama (八代窯).

 I have such a soft place in my heart for Koda Pottery as it was my initial experience with Japanese ceramics. My first pieces have adorned my home for over three decades and I keep adding more. There is a warmth and a simple sophistication with Koda-yaki that is so pleasing.

Aoki Osamu MARK of Denshichi-gama



                     Denshichi-gama guinomi, reading right to left Koda (田高)

       Yatsushiro Gama vase and Denshichi Gama cup

This box (for the tea bowl) is signed Furushiro-gama

Tea Bowl by Yoshida Matsuo of Furushiro-gama

Yoshida Matsuo Mark along with Koda MARK

Natsu Chawan by Yoshida Matsuo

Yoshida Matsuo MARK

Sakai MARK of Yatsushiro-gama 

March 2014
I had the opportunity to visit Denshichi-gama and Agano-gama. I was finally able to solve the mystery
mark on the tea bowls I have.  Mr. Aoki of Denshichi-gama was so helpful in identifying the mark. Mr Yoshida, who made two of my bowls, passed away a number of years ago and his kiln, Furushiro gama, has since disappeared. 
Mr. Aoki spent quite a bit of time chatting with us and answering questions. He shared pictures of his trip to Virginia a number of years ago where he gave workshops to potters, showing his techniques, especially the inlay technique that is so prevalent in Koda pottery. He showed us his kiln, piles of clay, working area and his lovely shop. He has so many lovely pieces!! True "eye candy" for me. I wish I could have filled my suitcase with all of them but had to settle on just getting a guinomi (sake  cup) for my collection. 


                             At Denshichi Gama with Mr. Osamu Aoki

AGANO GAMA ( 上野窯..The original Koda Kiln)

 Hashi oki or chopstick stand by the 12th Agano Hiroyuki 

Egami Gen


  1. The original Kodayaki you have listed as the "Yatsushiro" gama is the original and oldest. The Agano kiln is now run by a youshi, who was adopted into the family and then divorced Ms. Sakai, who ran the Yatsushiro kiln. (養子). Ms. Sakai's son, ran the kiln for a while and then disappeared, working for another pottery in the Arita area somewhere. The bloodline of Kodayaki (from the 1100s) then ended when Ms. Sakai sold her shop.

    1. Hey Professor! I was reading about some of my favorite pottery styles, when I noticed your user-name! I still visit your photostream when I need a good photo of Shohinken to show folks on-the-spot.

      Marmie: Sensei Anaguma here (Dr. S.) visits the area regularly, and speaks fluent Japanese. I'm convinced he knows just about everything (/everyone) in Yatsushiro.

  2. Thank you. Interesting. I would love to have your references regarding the origins and bloodline mentioned. I was under the impression that the Agano Gama was the original kiln. I am always interested in additional information!


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