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An Introduction to Nanbu Tekki ironware

This video, made by Tohoku STANDARD (東北STANDARD), is titled "Tohoku STANDARD 05 Nanbu Tekki ironware" (東北STANDARD 05 岩手県 南部鉄器).

In the video, we introduce you to Nanbu Tekki ironware through an interview with Hisao Iwashimizu, an ironworker from Kukan Chuzo Studio.
Enjoy the historic, traditional Japanese craft shown in the video!

What is Nanbu Tekki ironware?

Nanbu Tekki ironware is an ironware with more than 400 years of history.
Both ironware from Mizusawa, Iwate Prefecture and ironware from Morioka, Iwate Prefecture in Japan's Tohoku region are called Nanbu Tekki ironware. Each has its own history. What we call ‘Nanbu Tekki ironware’ nowadays, is actually the name used in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture.
It is said that ironware started around the time Lord Nanbu of Morioka built Morioka Castle in the Keicho Period (around 1600).

There are many Nanbu Tekki ironware products such as pots, cauldrons, wind chimes, candle stick holders, tea kettles, frying pans and kettles. The most famous ones are iron tea kettles used in tea ceremony.
It is said that these iron kettles originated when the 28th lord of the Nanbu domain, Shigenao Nanbu , invited Nizaemon Kiyotaka Koizumi of Kyoto to make a chagama with high quality iron.
As it was initially used as a tea cauldron, there was no spout nor handle at its conception. After many improvements, the current unique style of tea kettles with a spout and handle was born. It can be seen from 0:47 in the video.

By using Nanbu Tekki ironware, you can supplement your iron intake which most people tend to be deficient in.
Supplementing iron helps in recovery from stiff shoulders, and, as you probably guessed, prevents iron deficiencies.
One benefit of boiling tap water in Nanbu Tekki ironware is that most of the chlorine is removed in the process.

During World War II, development of arms was given the highest priority and Nanbu Tekki ironware faced a crisis as the production became prohibited in Iwate Prefecture. After the war, it made a comeback, and it was given the status of a "National Traditional Craft" in 1975.

How to Make Nanbu Tekki Ironware

Be sure to follow along from the start of the video!

Step 1. Mold cutting
Create a wooden mold.

Step 2. Pattern pressing
Before the casting mold dries, use a tool such as a spatula to draw patterns such as hailstones, tortoiseshells, pine trees, cherry trees, flying dragons, or hills and water.

Step 3. Heating the mold
Bake the casting mold at 1,400°C with charcoal.

Step 4. Melting
Increase the temperature of the blasting furnace from 1,400 degrees to 1,500 degrees. Pour the melted iron into the casting mold.

Step 5. Oven bake (~1:17
Take the ironware out of the casting mold and bake it in the oven with charcoal at 800 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Step 6. Coloring/Finishing
Using sandpaper, make the surface of the iron kettle smooth.
To finish, apply Ohaguro - an iron acetate solution mixed with tea to make it shiny.

Summary of Nanbu Tekki Ironware

At 0:41 in the video, iron worker Hisao Iwashimizu says "I want to recreate the history of Nanbu Tekki ironware as a simple everyday tool."

From 0:52 in the video, he also says, "I have launched a product called Yakihada Migaki, where I shave the ironware that has come out of the mold and make it into the form I have in mind." He explains in the interview that he is creating products that have never been made in the history of Nanbu Tekki ironware.

If you're interested in Nanbu Tekki ironware after watching the video, be sure to check out Nanbu Tekki ironware online. You can purchase it at online shops such as Rakuten.
Popular Nanbu Tekki ironware products are from the long-established Iwachu Nanbu ironware, Kamasada, Suzuki Morihisa Kobo and Oigen. Their products are priced from a few thousand Yen (Tens of dollars).
Nowadays, they make new products such as IH compatible ironware, rice cookers using Nanbu Tekki ironware, and colored iron tea kettles (~1:42).

You may wonder what happens if it gets rusty. With Nanbu Tekki ironware, you can still use it even if it rusts a little. As long as you look after it, you should be able to use it for life.

Be sure to take a look at the video on Nanbu Tekki ironware. It's very popular among people both inside and outside of Japan.

【Official Website】IWACHU Nanbu ironware| Iwachu K.K. Iwachu Morioka, the home of Nanbu Tekki ironware

【Official Website】Kamasada Nobuho Miya | designshop

Written By
Last Updated : Sep. 15, 2020
A writer who loves Japan
Nanbu Tekki Ironware Has Over 400 Years History, Can Be Used for Life, and Is a Very Popular Item Among Foreigners! It Also Acts as an Iron Supplement and Is Good for Your Health. Let’s Take a Look at the Traditional Japanese Product from Morioka, Iwate Prefecture!
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