Rakuyaki (Raku ware) (楽焼)

Rakuyaki (Raku ware)
One of the traditional ceramic wares of Japan.
It is detailed as follows:

Created easily by amateurs as a hobby and the unglazed pottery can be hand-painted.

Rakuyaki is a soft-type glazed ceramic ware baked after formed not by an electric potter's wheel or kerokuro (a kicking potter's wheel), but just by the hands with the clay on a pallet called tezukune (handmade.)
In sensu strico, it indicates products made by the hand of the successive family heads of Kichizaemon RAKU, and are also called Rakujawan (Raku teacup.) etc. In sensu lato, it indicates entire ceramic ware made in the same way. This includes Oi-yaki (Oi ware) of Kanazawa and Tamamizu-yaki (Tamamizu ware) of Kyoto, etc. which were learned from the methods of the Raku family.

Its characteristics are the distorted and thick body reflecting the taste SEN no Rikyu loved.

It is used as a teacup, hanaire (a vase), mizusashi (a water jug) and koro (an incense burner) in the Sado tea ceremony.

It is said that Rakuyaki began in the late 16th century when a roof tile artisan Chojiro baked 'Jurakuyaki' by firing the soil used in the construction of Jurakudai villa under the teaching of SEN no Rikyu.

An opinion is widely held that Sokei TANAKA who was the father of the second head of the family, Jokei RAKU was given a seal with the engraved character 'Raku' taken from the name of Jurakudai from Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, and he began to use the seal and called his Yago (family name) Raku.

Rakuyaki of the authentic Raku family is called hon-gama (the main kiln), and those made by its branches are called waki-gama (non-main kilns.)


Kuroraku (Black Raku)

In the methos of early days, the process to make Black Raku is to souse tetsuyu (glaze containing iron) made of black stone in Kamo-gawa river on the bisque of work and then dry it in the shade, and when it dries, the work is dipped into tetsuyu again, and after this process is repeated 10-odd times, then the work is fired at about 1000 degrees Celsius in a kiln. When the glaze begins to melt, the work is removed from the kiln and is quickly cooled down, and then the work turns black.
This method is common as with Mino-yaki (Mino ceramic ware.)

These days, more lead is contained in the glaze and the finished work is more brilliant.

The beginning of Black Raku was when Chojiro made a Black Raku tea bowl around 1581 to 1586.

Aka-Raku (Red Raku)

This is to biscuit-fire reddish clay and create the work and then souse it in a transparent glaze and fire it at about 800 degrees Celsius. The products by Koetsu HONAMI who was strongly associated with the Raku family and Donyu RAKU are famous.

[Original Japanese]