21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Japan has a long, prestigious tradition of producing fine handicrafts, and Nambu ironware, which combines simplicity, artistry and practicality, pays testament to this. Made using a 400-year old method developed in the Iwate Prefecture of Japan, the crafting of Nambu ironware is said to have started when the Nambu family, who ruled the northern region of Iwate Prefecture in the mid-17th century, invited artisans from the south of Japan to the city of Morioka to make, among other wares, swords, armor and tea kettles. Thanks to the abundance of natural resources in the area, the craft flourished and became a local specialty.
Today, Nambu ironware is admired around the world not only for its fine quality and simplistic beauty, but also for its high durability. The Nambu iron kettle, in particular, is held in high regard and was certified as a Traditional Craftwork of Japan in 1975 due in part to the worldwide recognition it enjoys. As a result, it now adorns many homes in Europe and America. There are also health benefits to using the Nambu iron kettle. Drinking water boiled in the kettle supplements iron in the diet, and the water is said to taste milder and improve in quality through repeated use of the kettle. While the tradition of the craft remains strong, Nambu ironware is now appearing in a variety of contemporary colors and being infused with original designs, demonstrating that it has found its place in the modern world.
The Iwachu Casting Works is an 8-minute drive from the Morioka-Minami Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway.