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 Yaki.
Amakusa Pottery and Porcelain
In the old fief of Amakusa on the island of Kyushu, the village headmen encouraged the people throughout the fief to try and support themselves by making pottery and from the early 17th century and on into the 18th century, both pottery and porcelain were being produced in the province.
The roots of this craft go back to Hayashi Matashichi. With the support of the local feudal lord Hosokawa and his family, Hayashi was doing inlaid metal work on firearms and sword guards during the first half of the 17th century. Subsequently, as this craft became established, fine Higo sword guards were produced by generation after generation of the Hayashi family as well as by other families such as the Hiratas, Nishigakis, Shimizus and Kamiyoshis right through the Edo period (1600-1868), and many pieces of their work are still in existence. When the carrying of swords was outlawed in 1876, the Higo craftsmen turned their hand to decorative work and began making everyday items in line with the new social conditions.