Searching all of Japan for handcrafted items that express its heart and soul, our proprietor, KASHIYUKA, presents things that bring a bit of luxury to everyday life. She travels to Morioka this time, the capital of Iwate prefecture, to view the Tohoku region’s 400-year-old Nanbu Tekki ironware craft, and in search of a beautiful, hand-cast iron kettle.
“Nanbu Tekki came into being because a feudal lord of the Nanbu domain, who happened to be a devoted practitioner of the tea ceremony, prevailed upon his workers to make a kettle dedicated to it. The region was abundant in the three elements needed: high-quality iron, sand, and charcoal fuel. The kettle was made smaller, spout and handle were added, and it became the one we know today,” third-generation Kamasada director, Mr. Nobuho Miya, told us.
“It would be more efficient if we divided up the work, but it’s much more interesting to make an item from A to Z. Though the work is hard, the artisans experience a joy in making that makes them want to go on,” Mr. Miya said. This is something I understand well. To be involved at every step pushes you to cultivate the skill and beauty of the work because you’re responsible for the whole, and out of this a feeling of engagement and accomplishment is born.
In the final stage the kettle is again fired in charcoal, and the surface glazed in urushi lacquer. The same care is applied to the unseen areas as to the visible ones, in the end creating a kettle that is beautiful, won’t rust, and lasts for a very long time.
“In all, there are about 200 cast-iron kettle shapes. Some are from my grandfather’s time, and artisans came up with new ones from time to time. None are the work of a ‘designer’, but the styles emerged naturally along the way, and therefore, were continued.”
It’s actually very good to learn that they can be used on an induction range. This cast-iron kettle, imbued with a universal beauty, informed by antique wisdom, is well-suited to our modern life.
Cast-Iron Kettle by Kamasada
Right/Iron kettle with traditional Odare design. Can be used over direct flame and with induction systems, ¥38,500 Left/Nanbu Tekki Western-style pot. Handle can be removed for oven use. Perfect for gratin or ajillo. From ¥5,500. Kamasada / Konya-cho 2-5, Morioka-shi, Iwate tel 019 622 3911 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.
Yuka Kashino, known as KASHIYUKA, is a member of the electro-pop group Perfume. Her favorite modern artist is Hiroshi Sugimoto. To support the best album Perfume The Best “P Cubed,” scheduled for Sep. 18th, Perfume will hit the road on the nationwide 4 major dome tour in Feb., 2020.www.perfume-web.jp