The origins of Imari Arita Yaki date back to the end of the 16th century when the Saga clan, which had been involved in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's campaigns in Korea, brought back the potter, Li Sanpei who discovered porcelain stone at Mount Arita Izumi, in northern Kyushu. The porcelain that was subsequently made there was the first to be produced anywhere in Japan and was originally called Imari Yaki, simply because it was shipped through the port of Imari.
Although disputed, it seems likely that Karatsu Yaki was being made in this area even before the 1592 campaigns to Korea. The name is abbreviated from a ware made in the area of Matsuura where there were a number of kilns producing Taku kokaratsu, Hirado kokaratsu, and Takeo kokaratsu. It was, however, the ware from the Matsuura kokaratsu kiln that finally gave its name to this particular style of pottery.
The origins of Mikawachi Yaki date back to the building of a kiln by Korean potters that were brought back to this area of Kyushu by landowners who had taken part in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's campaign to the Korean Peninsular at the end of the 16th century.
At the end of the 16th century, the feudal lord of the Omura clan accompanied Toyotomi Hideyoshi on one of his campaigns to the Korean Peninsular. On his return he brought back some Korean potters with him and they began making pottery in Hasami.
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 origins of Satsuma Yaki 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.
In the second half of the 17th century, the scattered potteries of Chibana in Misato, Takaraguchi in Shuri and Wakuta in Naha were brought together by the King of Ryukyu and a new center was established in what is now Tsuboya.