Porcelain Made in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture
Izushi porcelain was begun by Izuya Yazaemon in 1784. In the beginning, he produced only stoneware; however, in 1793 after bringing back kiln techniques from Arita in Hizen (present-day Saga prefecture), he shifted his focus to the production of beautiful white, durable porcelain using locally quarried Kakitani pottery stone. Thanks to the industrial promotion policy of the ruling Izushi clan, kilns funded by town merchants flourished during the Tenpō era (1830–1844). Several such kilns continued to survive under various types of management after the Meiji Restoration (1868). Each kiln produced characteristic porcelains that imitated Chinese and Japanese ceramic styles, including sometsuke (underglaze cobalt blue painted on white porcelain), overglaze enameling using colored overglazes such as red or gold, and white porcelain with three-dimensional decorations.
In 1876, members of the former Izushi clan rulers stopped receiving income (samurai stipends known as roku) from the central government as a result of the abolition of domains and establishment of prefectures, Instead, they founded an association called Eishinsha to function as a training center to help people in the locality learn a trade and to improve the quality of local products. Eishinsha focused on producing ceramic works for export with delicate decorations made with excellent craftsmanship. They also exhibited their products at world expositions held in the West. Following the implementation of the Meiji government's deflation policy, Eishinsha ceased to operate in 1885 due to slack export and resulting management difficulties. Artisans, however, did not cease producing porcelain, and Izushi Ware production continues even today.