World War II and the Postwar Years
The Pacific War bought severe damage to the ironworks industry. Following the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in the previous year, regulations were enforced in 1938 to collect objects made of iron and steel. Scrap metal of all kinds had to be turned in, casting workshops were banned from making kettles, and the craftsmen had no choice but to switch to the war munitions industry.
However, local craftsmen who were determined not to let the heritage die down joined together to form a group, working for the preservation of the art of Nambu tetsubin. As a result, the Nambu ironworks managed to survive the crisis of war, and pass their tradition over to the postwar generation.
After the war, demand for Nambu Tekki decreased due to drastic change in lifestyles; the increase of aluminum and stainless steel products also impacted the decline of traditional ironware. However, when the Law for the Promotion of Traditional Crafts Industries was enacted in 1974, Nambu tetsubin became the first to be officially designated as Japan’s traditional craft.
Recently, tea pots of modern design have become highly valued overseas, and Nambu Tekki is gaining recognition for producing practical kitchenware.
With a history of 400 years and the traditional skills passed down from generation to generation, Nambu Tekki has a distinctive character; each piece of ironware is not at all elaborate or striking to the eye, yet beyond its apparent austerity and sturdiness, there is a certain warmth and coziness that attract the user. It reminds us, somehow, of the local people, who live with simplicity and patience, withstanding the harsh climate of Iwate.