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Yamagata's Traditional Craft "Yamagata Casting" Introductory Video

This video "TEWAZA yamagata casting(手技TEWAZA「山形鋳物」)" was created by "Dentoukougei Aoyama Square" (伝統工芸青山スクエア).

In this 4 minute long video, they introduce Yamagata casting, including the history, unique characteristics, and manufacturing process.
We hope you enjoy taking a look at the incredible skills of the craftsmen and the intricately designed items they create in this video.

Yamagata Casting - A Traditional Craft

Image of tea kettle
Photo:tea kettle

Yamagata casting is a traditional Japanese craft that dates back to the Heian Period (794 AD-1185 AD) when casting craftsmen found that the soil quality in the surrounding area was suitable for creating ironware.
Many of the chagama (tea kettles) used nowadays in Japanese tea ceremony are made with Yamagata casting.
You can see some of these tea kettles from 0:12 in the video.

The thin, delicate Yamagata casting is currently being used in the production of traditional crafts such as Nambu Ironware (南部鉄器), iron kettles, and copperware, as well as building materials and machinery parts.

The Yamagata Casting Process

The Yamagata casting process starts with creating a mold.
You can take a look at this from 0:28 in the video.
Once the overall design has been decided, a mold is then created using sand and clay from Yamagata prefecture.
The design that appears on the surface of the casting is first drawn on washi paper (和紙) which is then used to trace or imprint the design onto the mold.

From 2:08 in the video, you can see the molten iron as it's poured into the mold, a process called "Ikomi" (鋳込み). It is then cooled and then removed from the mold, through a process known as "Katadashi" (型出し) in Japanese.
Finally, the item may be finished with a coating of lacquer, color application or left unglazed.

The finished product, a beautiful tea kettle, can be seen from 3:29 in the video.

Yamagata Casting Makes the Perfect Gift!

Many items other than the traditional Kyusu (急須, traditional Japanese teapot) and tea kettles can be made with Yamagata casting.
In recent years, various kitchenware such as glasses and teapots as well as more traditional Japanese kitchen items like modern Sukiyaki pots, called "Sukiyaki Nabe" or Japanese kettles called "Yakan" are being made via the same process.
If you're looking for a gift for a special someone, why not take a look at the beautifully designed Yamagata casting items on sale at the store "GASEN" (雅山)?

Yamagata Casting Culture and Manufacturing Process Summary

The history, techniques of the craftsmen, and manufacturing process of Yamagata casting has been compressed into this 4 minute long video.

If you're interested in Japanese culture, we highly recommend taking a look at the amazing craftsmanship featured in the video.
Every item is like a work of art!
If you like what you see, consider taking a trip to Yamagata prefecture and see the real thing up close!

Written By
Sep. 15, 2020
Japan
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!

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Yamagata Casting Is an Essential Part of Japan's Tea Ceremony Culture. A Quick Look at the Traditional Craft of Yamagata City, Yamagata and How It's Made!
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