Pottery Experience Manpugama

34 years since the kiln was built, the pottery studio of two generations

In addition to pottery making, Manpugama also offers pottery classes and gallery exhibitions and sales.

going back to the starting point

I think the enchantment of ceramics lies in the natural materials.

I am very interested in the fact that my work is made of clay, water, firewood, and flame, all natural materials.

In particular, among all the fields of art, I find pottery interesting because the work is reborn in the mysterious flames once it leaves your hands.

In general, modern kilns such as gas, electric and kerosene kilns are the mainstream firing methods, but I believe that the primitive and traditional "semi-above-ground anagama" kiln, which fires only with wood and human power, is a return to the origin of ceramics.

Homemade semi-above-ground anagama

I built The "semi-above-ground anagama" in 1992, referring to past literature, in order to reproduce the style that was introduced from the Korean Peninsula around the 5th century when Japan was in the Kofun period.

The kiln is 12 meters long, 2 meters wide, and 1.5 meters high, making it longer than most semi-aboveground anagama. Works are  fired in the anagama at a high temperature (1300 degrees Celsius) for five days and nights using only red pine wood without glaze on the dried base.

During the long firing, the ashes of the red pine trees that have fallen on the pieces begin to melt and change into a glassy substance that becomes a natural glaze. Firing in this long kiln for a long period of time is important to produce a very profound color.

After the firing process is complete, the natural glaze of the piece is beautifully bead-roofed and shines, while the reddish brown color of the piece is produced by the powerful flow of the fire and the clogging of the clay. This is called yakijime.

In addition, the surface of a piece that has changed drastically due to the complex flow of flames is called yohen, and it is one of the major characteristics of the Manpugama.

The beauty of natural glaze

Unlike the glaze applied before firing in a gas kiln, the natural glaze of a semi-aboveground anagama differs greatly depending on the flow of the flames, the weather at the time, and the way the kiln is fired.

However, the changes in the works are not accidental, but are the result of the kiln firing process, which is carefully calculated based on years of experience. More important than the firing process is the position in which the pieces are placed.

The colors can change from deep green to amber to ashy with a lumpy surface.

The concept of making my own ceramic works is "Utsuwa", which the works created by my hands with natural materials complements flowers and food. I aim to create works of art as "Utsuwa" that create a synergistic effect in a certain space.


Representative of Manpugama Manpu Toyohara

Manpu Toyohara Biography

1958 Born in Sendai City
1980 Graduated from Tohoku Gakuin University
1985~1988 Teacher: Masaki Aizawa, Yukio Hasegawa, Nobuo Kinoshita
1988 Built a kiln in Togatta, Zao Town and became independent. Since then, he has held solo exhibitions in various places every year.
2001 Japan-Korea International Exchange Exhibition (Daegu, Korea)
2002 Japan-Korea International Exchange Exhibition (Sendai, Japan) Japan-China Society of Arts and Crafts Exchange Exhibition (Beijing, China)
2003 Japan-Korea-China & Northeast Asia Exhibition (Busan, Korea)
2005 Japan-Korea Contemporary Art Exhibition (Sendai)
2006 Miyagi Prefecture Craft Exhibition (Jilin Province, China)
2007 Japan-Korea Art Exchange Exhibition (Sendai Korean Consulate) Isetan Fuchu Store Art Gallery Solo Exhibition (Tokyo)
2009 Japan-Korea International Exchange Exhibition (Seoul, Korea)
2010 Japan-Korea International Exchange Exhibition (Daegu, Korea)
2013 Japan-Korea International Exchange Exhibition (Daegu, Korea)
2015 Japan-Korea Art Exhibition (Consulate General of Korea in Sendai)
2016 Japan-Korea Art Exchange Exhibition (Jeonju, Korea)
2017 Invited Artist for Korea Matcha Bowl Public Exhibition (Milyang, Korea)

Selected for Kahoku Craft Exhibition 7 times
Tohoku Contemporary KOGEI Art Exhibition, Selected 8 times, Special Prize
Donation of artworks to the Korean Consulate in Sendai and the Zao Cultural Center
Member of Miyagi Art Association
Chairman, Zao Town International Exchange Association

Profile of Emiko (eldest daughter and 2nd generation of Manpugama)

Two Generations of ceramic artists

As the eldest daughter, I finally came to believe that this is a very difficult but also a very happy thing for me.

It has been 11 years since I started my career in ceramics. After graduating from university, I started helping my father with his work at Manpugama. Unlike my sisters, I went to a science university and had no basic knowledge or skills in pottery, so I learned pottery from scratch as a craftsman.

I don't remember my father "teaching" me anything. He just told me to watch and learn, and to gain experience on my own. I miss that time now, and the more the days pass, the more I think that my father is truly amazing as a craftsman.

The anagama of the Manpukugama was made by my father.

It was completed when we were children and has been supporting our family with my father ever since. When I drink Zao water from a cup fired in the kiln, it sparkles and tastes very good, and when I arrange flowers in the vases bumished, it looks dignified and the space becomes more gorgeous.

I would like to inherit the atmosphere of the Manpugama in my own way.

Emiko Toyohara Biography

1984 Born in Sendai City
1989 Moved to Zao and learned pottery from his father at an early age.
2006 Enrolled in Fukushima University and engaged in international exchange activities during my stay in Japan (Australia, China, Korea, USA, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia)
2010 Graduated from Fukushima University and joined Manpugama
2010 Participated in the Japan-Britain Friendship and Exchange Program to the United Kingdom
2012 Participation in the Japan-U.S. Grassroots Summit Visit to the U.S. by the Department of Ceramics, Texas Woman's University
2014 Obtained full master's degree in Ikebana Honbara Enshu School
2015 Spring Cup and Vase Exhibition (Akiu)
2016 I am currently working hard to spread the fun of pottery and the difficulty of making things by traveling around the Tohoku region as a visiting potter. Striving to do more every day!

Former Vice President of the Zao Town International Exchange Association
Sho-shihan of the Honbara Enshu School of Ikebana, recipient of two Excellence Awards
Member of the Zao Sanrei Sanada no Sato wo Megumi Kai

Second generation of three women Mamiko Profile

With the great nature of Zao

My career as a potter began when I touched clay for the first time at the age of three.

As a child, my father taught me how to make plates and bowls, and I remember intuitively thinking, "Clay is fun! I remember intuitively feeling that "clay is fun!

Helping to fire wood for the anagama, chopping wood, and spending time in nature were my favorite things. After that, I went on to a university in Kyoto to learn the basics of pottery and came back to Zao.

This time, I told many people, "Ceramics is fun to make! It is also a pleasure to use it! I will continue to work hard at teaching pottery classes and making pottery every day so that many people will think, "Pottery is fun to make!

Together with my father and sister, I would like to continue to promote the appeal of ceramics from the great outdoors of Zao.

Mamiko Toyohara Biography

1990 Born in Zao Town
1993 Learned pottery from his father at the age of three.
2008 Enrolled in the Department of Ceramic Art at Kyoto Traditional Art College, where he learned to polish his pottery wheel skills and paint traditional Japanese designs.
2012 Graduated from Kyoto Traditional Art and Craft College and taught pottery classes in Kyoto
2013 Taught pottery classes at Manpugama Trained in pottery in England
2015 Participated in "Spring Cup Exhibition and Vase Exhibition" (Akiu)
2018 I am creating works that incorporate the techniques I learned in Kyoto and the characteristics of Zao ware passed down from my father.