Japanese American Issei Pioneer Museum
In Honor of the Struggle and Sacrifice of First Generation Japanese in America

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Stories - Post-War Immigrant Stories
02 - Kotoo Yaki & Naosuke II

Chakai and Mizusashi (tea ceremony party and water jar)

Stonewares produced in the east of Biwa Lake are called Kotoo-yaki since that region is known as Kotoo (east of the lake). Hikone is one of the principal cities in that region.


  1. Kinuya Hanbei opened the kama (kiln) after receiving a permit from the Lord of Hikone and began producing earthenwares.

  1. Oniwayaki began by Hikone clan during the 14th Lord of Hikone, Naoaki Ii.

  1. Naosuke Ii, Tairo (head executive) of Tokugawa Shogunate and 15th Lord of Hikone decided to open up Japan despite of many opposition and concluded the first treaty between Japan and United States of America.

  1. Naosuke Ii was assassinated outside of Sakurada-mon of Edo Castle on March 3.

  1. Kama (kiln) was shut down and the end of Kotoo-yaki during the 16th Lord of Hikone, Naonori Ii.

Kotoo-yaki is often called ‘Maboroshi no Yakimono’ (phantom earthenwares) since it was made for only 20 years between 1842 and 1862. Mizusashi (water jar) we use today is from that era.

The reason why we use Kotoo-yaki Mizusashi today is that the Chokudai announced by the emperor of Japan for this year is (hon or moto) which means beginning, foundation or book. The beginning of US-Japan relationship began when Lord Naosuke Ii made a big decision. Over one hundred fifty years have passed since his passing and his memorial day is near. He appreciated the Way of Tea and is attributed to the creator of the word “Ichi- e -ichi- go 一会一期 (means “this is a moment that never can be repeated.” or “Think as if each occasion is the last one”). As we practice the Way of Tea in America, it is meaningful to remember the beginning of US-Japan relationship and use Mizusashi of Kotoo-yaki today.

In 1986, after the long absence, the Kotoo-yaki was started again and beautiful artifacts are now available at the stores.

Naomi Somi Takemura

January 2015



湖東焼 と 井伊直弼


湖東焼の語源は、滋賀県の琵琶湖の東部地方を湖東と呼ぶことに由来しています。 彦根はその湖東にある城下町です。

1829年 文政12年 ― 絹屋半兵衛が彦根藩に願い出て開窯し、作り始める

1842年 天保13年 ― 14代彦根藩主・伊井直亮によって藩窯(おにわやき)となる。

1858年 安政5年  ― 徳川幕府の大老井伊直弼(15代彦根藩主)

1860年 万延元年  ― 井伊直弼没す。江戸城桜田門外で暗殺される(3月3日)

1862年 文久2年  ― 16代藩主 井伊直憲の時、廃窯となる。





竹村朴美(宗美)   2015年1月




一世パイオニア資料館 - isseipioneermuseum.com - 2015