The thing we love the most about Hasami Porcelain’s modern tableware is that it fades into the background. When we sip our afternoon tea out of one of the vessels, or brew a cup of coffee in the dripper, the implements themselves fade away and let us focus on the ritual and the results. The clean lines blend into any setting, and the quiet aesthetics call no attention to themselves. The soft, comfortable texture of the matte finish has a natural feel in the hand. It’s no wonder the design and function of the cups come across like they’ve been refined over centuries, since designer Takuhiro Shinomoto looked to the 400 years of porcelain tradition found in Hasami, Japan for inspiration. All in all, they’re highly usable everyday objects made to work and made to last.
Porcelain is prized for its strength and hardness compared to other fired earthenware and stoneware, but that extra resilience comes at the price of a highly specialized manufacturing process that demands incredible attention to detail. The secret to Hasami’s porcelain lies in the unique division of labor along the lines of specialized roles. Each step of the process—mixing, molding, glazing, firing, and so on—is handled by an individual craftsperson who specializes in that step. This organization of labor has been passed down in the Hasami village for generations since the 1700s, and results in some of the most prized Japanese porcelain available.