Yokaichi Banko Ware
Some 260 years ago there lived a wealthy merchant, Nunami Rozan. He was a knowledgeable exponent of tea and was interested in pottery. In fact, the name Banko-yaki or Banko ware originates from pieces he made himself. He stamped them with bankofueki, or literally "eternity, constancy", hoping they would be handed down through endless generations after he was gone.
This ware, in point of fact, was not made for a time after his death but was revived toward the end of the Edo period (1600-1868). The pieces of Yokkaichi Banko Yaki that are being made today spring from research and the revival of techniques made during the Meiji period (1868-1912). The distinctive porcelain and pottery produced continues to reflect the fashions and taste of each age.
For hundreds of years now, Banko-yaki teapots have had a strong following among those who drink tea, not simply because they add to the enjoyment of this beverage but also because these unassuming teapots take on a refined distinctive luster with the passing years of use. Teapots, however, are not the only thing being made. Cups, sake flasks, vases and ornamental pieces are also produced.
Tea-lovers have always loved Banko yaki teapots, which not only improve the flavor of the tea, but also develop a unique gloss the longer they are used.
How to make
Good quality kaolin and pottery stone found near Yokkaichi is used as clay, and the potter's wheel, molds, and hand forming as well as other methods are used to form the clay. Once the clay is formed, patterns are painted and etched into it. The pieces that are fired without glaze are well-known. Some pieces have designs painted on after firing.