14th Generation

The first generation of the Nakazato family, Matashichi, opened Tashiro Kiln in Okawa-machi, Imari City, around 1596. He moved to the Shiinomine area and opened Shiinomine Kiln around 1615, which was the first kiln of the Karatsu domain. 

The official kiln of the domain was established in Bozu-machi, Karatsu City, by two potters, the fourth generation Tarouemon and the fourth generation Oshima Yajibei. The works produced from this official kiln were named ‘Doi Karatsu’ after the feudal lord Doi of the Karatsu domain at that time. 

The fifth generation Nakazato Kiheiji and others moved the kiln from Bozu-machi to Tojin-machi, which is currently a part of the Nakazato Tarouemon property, in November 1734 in accordance with the feudal decree. Founded about 270 years ago, this kiln is known as Tojin-machi Ochawangama Kiln and played a significant role as the official kiln until the abolishment of the feudal system in 1871. 

The pottery made from this official kiln was called ‘Kenjo Karatsu’ wares or offering wares since they were offered to the Shoguns and high-class feudal lords. After the abolishment of the feudal system, the Oshima family quit pottery making. However, Tojin-machi Ochawangama Kiln was used by Nakazato Itto, his younger brother Keisou , and the 11th generation Nakazato Tenyu during the beginning of the Meiji Era (1870’s-1880’s), as well as Tenyu and his younger brother Keitaro from the middle of the Meiji Era (the end of 19th century) to 1924. 

The kiln has been passed on to Nakazato Muan (12th generation Nakazato Tarouemon), Nakazato Hoan (13th generation Nakazato Tarouemon), and the 14th generation Nakazato Tarouemon ever since. The remains of the Tojin-machi Ochawangama Kiln were designated as a National Historic Site in 2005 to preserve them. 
Nakazato Tarouemon's Kiln in Karatsu
Firing the Kiln
From Clay to Ceramic


Biography of the 14th generation Nakazato Tarouemon

As indicated by his name, Nakazato Touraemon XIV is the 14th in the line of potters at Nakazato Kiln, based in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture. Karatsu ware (karatsuyaki) is known throughout Japan for its singular style and quality, and the Nakazato family are the preeminent potters of this region. Nakazato Kiln has been producing fine ceramics for 420 years.

Nakazato XIV makes every piece as an original, singular hand-made item. His pottery is said to be warm and a welcoming, a reflection of the potter—in his words, knowledge beyond pottery and a good state of mind and body will improve how the potter expresses their emotion.  He approaches each piece with the attitude that it will remain within a family for a long time. His approach to tableware is to create pieces that accentuate the food as it is presented.

Nakazato XIV has placed emphasis on how time and human life interact with the “life” of his artwork. These pieces change over time; they reflect how they are used. Returning to, or becoming one with nature, is a theme in his work and approach. He talks about how even his building, which was new when it was built, is now fading into the surroundings. Blending with the natural environment is the appeal of karatsuyaki.

From 2003 to 2016, Nakazato XIV has been selected eight times for recognition at the annual Japan Traditional Crafts Exhibition. In 2006, he was given the honour of presenting the Emperor and Empress a Hammered Chosen Karatsu Jar when they visited Saga Prefecture.

The “hammering” technique is one that was introduced by Nakazato XII, who was the first National Living Treasure of Japan from Karatsu. It involves beating the sides of a vessel with wood to achieve this pattern before firing.



Biography of the 14th generation Nakazato Tarouemon

1957 Born as the first son of the 13th generation Nakazato Tarouemon.
1979 Graduated from Musashino Art University, Tokyo, with a degree in College of Art and Design from the Department of Sculpture.
1981 Graduated from the Graduate School of Musashino Art University, Tokyo, with a master’s degree. 
1983 Completed the Glaze Course at Tajimi City Pottery Design and Technical Center, Gifu Prefecture. Completed the Glaze Course at the Government Industrial Research Institute, Nagoya.Began pottery making at the 13th generation Nakazato Tarouemon Ceramic Studio.

1984   Received his first nomination for a prize at the 16th Japan Art Academy Award for his work ‘Kaimidori’, a Tataki Ao Karatsu vase with handles.
1990   Awarded a Special Prize at the 22nd Japan Art Academy
1990   Award for his work ‘Yakishime tsubo 90’.
1990   Awarded a Saga Prefecture Governor Prize and a Nagatake Takeshi Prize for his work Yakishime tsubo’ vase at the 40th Saga Ceramic Exhibition. The work was purchased by Saga Prefectural Government.

1991 Awarded a Cultural Encouragement Prize by a local newspaper company, Saga Shimbun Co., Ltd.
1998 Invited to exhibit at ‘Exhibition on the Past and Present of Ceramics’ at the 98 Gyeongju World Culture Expo, South Korea.
2000 Awarded the New Face Award of the Culture Foundation by the Bank of Saga Ltd.Awarded the Minister of Education Award at the 5th Asia Craft Exhibition.Exhibited at the British Museum for ‘Saga Contemporary Ceramics from the Home of Japanese Porcelain’.

2002 Became a member of the International Academy of Ceramics (I.A.C) Succeeded his father as the 14th generation Nakazato Tarouemon.
2003 Selected for a prize at the 50th Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition for his ‘Tataki Karatsu Yakishime tsubo’ vase.
2005 Selected for a prize at the 52nd Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition for his ‘Karatsu Ido-Chawan’ tea bowl.
2006 Given the honor of guiding the Emperor Emeritus Akihito and the Empress Emerita Michiko around Tojin-machi Ochawangama Kiln, which is designated as a National Historic Site, and the studio during their visit to Saga in October. Appointed as Director of the Saga Ceramic Art Association. Nominated for a prize at the 53rd Japan Traditional Art Craft Exhibition for his ‘Tataki Karatsu tsubo’ vase.

2007 Nominated for a prize at the 54th Japan Traditional Art Craft Exhibition for his ‘Karatsu Yakishime tsubo’ vase.


A secular know-how

IKKYU is delighted to offer several models of cups made by Nakazato Tarouemon's kiln. We selected them based on his personal recommendations.

These exceptional tea cups handmade at the Nakazato Tarouemon kiln in Karatsu are sold in a wooden box signed with hand calligraphy, for a special and unique gift.
handmade tea cup
"Kawakujira cup"
handmade tea cup
"chosen cup"
handmade tea cup
"madara cup"


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