Posted on May 11, 2020
I'd like to explain in a little more detail about the Ofuke ware that appeared in the story of Kato Shuntai.
Ofuke ware is a type of pottery that was made in the Shimo-Ofuke Garden on the north side of Nagoya Castle from the late 17th century to the 18th century. Also, a piece of pottery with an ash glaze containing iron called "Ofuke-glaze" is generally called Ofuke ware.
Nagoya Castle was built at the northwest end of a plateau in the center of the city of Nagoya.
The stone walls and moat of Nagoya Castle are made by using the edge of the plateau. This is a swampy area where rainwater seeps into the plateau and flows out. In ancient times, such a place was called "Fuke (means deep)". The "Ofuke moat" on the northside of Nagoya Castle, the "Ofuke Maru" of the castle walls that protruded from the moat, and the "Shimo Ofuke Guarden" on the north side across the moat. These place names are derived from "Fuke".
Because of the low-humidity area called "Fuke", water accumulated in the area where the earth was dug when Nagoya Castle was built, and a pond called "Goren Pond" was formed on the north side of the castle. In the pond, several small islands were created to take advantage of the original natural landscape and create a walking garden with a tea house and other facilities, which became the "Shimo-Ofuke garden".
Even though it was outside of Nagoya Castle, the Shimo-Ofuke garden was used for entertaining the Shogun, so it is not a place where anyone can easily enter.
The fact that the third shogun, Iemitsu, visited Owari on his way to visit the capital and was entertained in this garden indicates that the Shimo-ofukai garden was completed during the reign of the first Owari lord, Yoshinao (1624-1644, Kanei era).
In addition, pottery covered with Ofuke glaze has also been excavated in Mino. This pottery was excavated with the pottery shards from Oribe's decline period at the same time, and a document inscribed with the year "Kan'ei" has been found, so it is thought that the pottery had started to be fired in the Kan'ei period (1624–1644) at the latest.
Returning to the story of the Shimomikawai Goniwa, during the Enpo period (1673-1681), the second lord of Owari clan, Koyu, restricted the use of "Sobokai clay" the raw material for Seto pottery, to the clan's official use only. There is a record that this soil was brought to Nagoya Castle.
From these records, it is thought that the beginning of Ofuke ware was around the Kan'ei period.
■Nagoya castle on google map http://urx.space/bw6k
■official site of Nagoya castle https://www.nagoyajo.city.nagoya.jp/en/
■inside of Nagoya castle on google street view https://goo.gl/maps/L6w1NEdnbbp
All prices are in JPY