Narashiba Katatsuki (楢柴肩衝)

The Narashiba Katatsuki is a tea canister which was called one of the three major Katatsuki, along with Nitta Katatsuki and Hatsuhana Katatsuki.
(Katatsuki is the type of a tea canister whose shoulder part has a square shape.)

Soji YAMANOUE, the leading disciple of SEN no Rikyu, extolled this tea canister as unrivalled by any others.

The name of this tea canister is said to be derived from the play on word with 'koi' meaning both 'deep' and 'love,' (double entente/pun) while the color of the glaze of this tea canister is in a unique 'koi' amber (meaning deep amber); a tanka (thirty-one syllables' poem) from Manyoshu (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves) includes the word 'koi' in its phrase, 'Mikarisuru Karihano Onono Narashiba no Nareha masarade Koi zo masareru,' then the word 'Narashiba' was taken from this tanka for the name of this tea canister.

Originally this tea canister was owned by the eighth shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA, but it was passed through many hands after his death, and later handed over to a tea master Soshitsu SHIMAI living in Hakata, Kyushu, by a merchant in Sakai, Osaka. Nobunaga ODA also wanted to acquire this famous piece and gave Soshitsu the order to bring it to Kyoto, although Nobunaga died in the Honnoji Incident before acquiring it.

After this incident, Sorin OTOMO repeatedly requested Soshitsu to hand over the tea canister at any cost, although Soshitsu kept refusing the requests. The power of OTOMO family later declined; in the meantime Tanezane AKIZUKI gradually gained power in the Chikuzen Province (where Hakata is located), and Soshitsu decided to hand over this tea canister when Tanezane requested the piece. Although Tanezane sent 100 bales of soybeans to Soshitsu, the price of the Narashiba was said to be about 3,000 Kan, which is about several million Yen in today's value. Therefore it is obvious that Soshitsu and other merchants of Hakata were half-threatened and deprived of the tea canister by the armed force of Tanezane. However, the period of Tanezane owning this famous piece was not very long; it was presented to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI as the proofing gift of surrender from Tanezane who was a vassal of Shimazu clan, when Hideyoshi conquered Kyushu region. Finally, all three best Katatsuki became the property of Hideyoshi. It is said that, at the deathbed of Hideyoshi, the piece was handed over to Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and became the property of Tokugawa Shogunate family, but disappeared or destroyed by the Great Fire in Meireki in 1657.

[Original Japanese]