When Hosokawa Tadatoshi moved from the fief of Buzen to take control of the fief of Higo in 1632, two master potters were appointed. One of these was Genhichi, the first of a long line of potters of the Hinkoji family, and the other was Hachizaemon, the first of successive generations of potters from the Katsuragi family. It was the appointment of these two men that is said to have marked the beginnings of the making of Shodai ware. Much later on in 1836 and under a directive from the local clan, Senoue Rinemon, an official of the Shogunate, built the Senoue kiln as part of a program promoting industry in the area. The skills and techniques associated with the production of Shodai ware have been handed down over the years and it is the Noda and Chikashige families, which have inherited them and still use them to this day.
It is conceivable that the various pieces of paraphernalia associated with Buddhism were first produced in Kyoto around the 8th century, when the monks Saichou and Kukai were exerting their influence on Heian Buddhism. Nevertheless, it was not until the beginning of the 11th century that work on this assortment of items began in earnest. This was when, Sadatomo, a sculptor of Buddhist images set up the Bussho workshop close to Hichijo in Kyoto and gathered around him specialists to make the various items required.
The making of Buddhist household altars became firmly established in the thriving religious community of Iiyama during the beginning of the 17th century. All of the work was done in the area by different craftsmen and then the whole thing was assembled. At the center of this network of skilled workers were specialist stores, which were both finishers and wholesalers of the altars. The strong belief in the Buddhist faith of the people of Iiyama, the ease with which raw materials could be obtained, and a suitable climate in which to build these complex pieces of cabinetry have all contributed to the sustained production of the Iiyama Buddhist household altars.
The first porcelain to be produced in the Kutani area was in the 17th century, when a member of the Kaga clan, Goto Saijiro, who had studied the techniques of making porcelain in Arita in northern Kyushu, set up a kiln making Kokutani ware, a suitable porcelain clay having been discovered in the area. While Kokutani or "old Kutani" ware combined the generosity and splendor of the culture of the Kaga clan, it developed into a unique form of porcelain with a strength and boldness all its own. At the end of the 17th century, however, production suddenly ceased. Firing did not begin again until the beginning of the 19th century, when the revival of Kutani ware was produced. Many different kilns appeared each with their own unique design style helping to establish this production center. There was the Mokubei style of the Kasugayama kiln, the Yoshida kiln which tried to echo Kokutani ware, the fine drawing in red of the Miyamoto kiln and the red and gold highly figured designs of the Eiraku kiln.
During the 17th century, a number of temples and shrines were built in and around the city of Nagaoka. It seems that the specialist carpenters, sculptors of Buddhist images, sculptors of other carved elements and lacquerers who had come into the area from all over the country because of this building work, started making household Buddhist altars during the winter months. Then, during the first half of the 19th century, a production center became established in the area. This had a lot to do with the fact that the Nagaoka clan gave its official patronage to the Jodo Shinshu. As a result, the demand for household altars increased as the worship of Buddhist mortuary tablets took hold, and homes throughout the fief were furnished with them.
The origins of Satsuma ware date back to the 16th century. The local feudal lord, Shimazu, returned from the Korean peninsular with some potters who helped to get things started. The wonderful surroundings of Kagoashima have contributed greatly to the development of this ware during its long history spanning some 400 years. During this time, the tireless enthusiasm of the local potters has resulted in a number of original developments, which have given rise to a number of individual styles that are still in production today. In 1867, the Shimazu clan independently entered some pieces of Satsuma ware in the Great Exhibition in Paris. People in Europe were enchanted and soon the name of Satsuma became known throughout the world.
This textile originated in the Edo period, and in 1908, the unique hogushi nassen dyeing technique was patented, and the craft prospered.
During the Kamakura period (1185-1333), merchants from Hakata journeyed to Sung dynasty China with the founder of Joten-ji temple, Shoichi Kokushi, and the weaving techniques they brought back with them laid the foundations of Hakata textiles. During the Edo period (1600-1868), most of the area of present-day Fukuoka Prefecture corresponded to the province of Chikuzen. The feudal lord of this province, Kuroda Nagamasa sent tributes (kenjo) of Hakata textiles to the Shogunate and this led to the cloth also being called Kenjo Hakata.
Large quantities of kaolin were discovered in the area during the 18th century. With the help of the local feudal lord, potters skilled in the making of porcelain from Arita in present-day Saga Prefecture were brought in to help, and the porcelain made in the castle town of Izushi marked the beginnings of this ware. Subsequently, the number of kilns increased in and around this castle town and a production center became established.
In the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868), a priest called Takahashi Tadashige is said to have been very proud of a small wooden doll that he had carved from scraps of willow which were left over from boxes used in a festival at Kamigamo shrine in Kyoto. Then using remnants of fabric from his priest's clothing, he dressed the doll by inserting the ends of the fabric into the wooden torso. At first, they were called Kamigamo dolls after the place where they were made. Later, however, they were called kimekomi dolls because of the way that the fabric was inserted into slits in the wood, and the name stuck. Subsequently, they were brought to Edo (Tokyo) where the craft became established.
This indigo cotton crepe was developed from a striped cotton cloth called tatae-ori that was being extensively woven throughout the Awa area at the end of the 18th century. Various reasons have been put forward as to why this development took place but it seems likely that is was the result of finding that when wet cloth was dried in the sun, it produced an interesting natural crepe effect.
Coming first from China, the abacus was brought to Otsu from Nagasaki toward the end of the Muromachi period (1392-1573). It was during the following Momoyama period (1573-1600), when Toyotomi Hideyoshi sieged Miki castle, that the people of this small castle town fled to nearby Otsu, where some learned how to make the abacus. When they finally returned to their homeland, they began making what became the Banshu abacus. The peak of production here was in 1960, when 3.6 million abacuses were made. Demand has gradually fallen since then due to the appearance of the electronic calculator. The abacus, however, still has value as it provides a much more graphic way of visualizing calculations, and as such still has a place in the curriculum of many schools, where in the past principals of education were "reading, writing and abacus". Some also believe that using an abacus can stimulate the brain and prevent senile dementia.