Chahai Tokoname


A charming little cup by the celebrated Tokoname-yaki potter, Jinshu, perfect for serving the finest Gyokuro, as well as sake. The inside stamped with a traditional Asanoha "hemp leaf" pattern picked out in silver paint is a perfect foil for the rustic, unglazed finish on the outside textured with an open weave fabric imprint.
Product Chahai teacup, brown and silver
Origin Tokoname, Aichi, Japan
Maker Jinshu 甚秋 / Seiji Ito 伊藤 成二
Volume 30ml
Dimensions Ø5.5cm x H2.5cm
Weight 25g
Material Ceramic, silver paint (銀彩 Ginsai)
Finish Unglazed (焼き締め Yakishime)
Decoration Asanoha (麻の葉 "hemp leaf")
Artist mark Seal to base


Each piece is handmade and unique, therefore colour, volume, dimensions and weight may vary slightly.


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Jinshu 甚秋

Founded by Minoru Ito in 1955, Jinshu Tōen is a ceramics kiln in Tokoname that is now represented by Seiji Ito (b.1949), the second generation of Jinshu. A much sought-after certified Traditional Craftsman, he began his career as a potter at the age of twenty initially focusing on teacups before turning his hands to Kyusu teapots.

Combining form and function, the teapot that defines Jinshu is the multi-award winning Hira (“flat”) Kyusu. Shallow with a wide base, its shape enables tea leaves to spread out across the increased surface area to enhance the aroma and flavour, besides helping cool down hot water faster with the greater exposure to air. For these reasons the Hira model is perfect for brewing fragrant green teas at lower temperatures.

Apart from the red Shudei clay that Tokoname is famous for, Jinshu also uses white and black clays, sometimes mixing them together to produce unique results. Embracing materials and techniques indigenous to his hometown, characteristic Jinshu finishes include Mogake: wrapping seaweed around the clay before firing to produce fine, thread-like patterns; a spotted effect by sprinkling powdered oyster shells – a byproduct of local seaweed farming; as well as his signature matte finish using Chara: a coating with properties between a glaze and an engobe.

Tokoname-yaki 常滑焼

Pottery has been produced in the city of Tokoname, Aichi prefecture, as far back as the 12th century, and since 1976 has been protected as a Traditional Craft of Japan. Tokoname was the site of the largest and oldest of the legendary Rokkoyō (六古窯): the “Six Ancient Kilns” of Japan, and is celebrated for its iron-rich Shudei clay that turns a bright red after firing. When fired a second time in a reduction oven, the red Shudei turns black – another characteristic colour of Tokoname-yaki. Traditional Tokoname Kyusu teapots are unglazed on the inside, allowing the tannins in the tea to interact with the iron in the clay body, which is said to reduce astringency and highlight the sweetness of green teas. Another key feature of these Kyusu are the perfectly fitting lids, which are ground into the clay body after firing in a technique known as Suriawase.


As with all unglazed ceramics, hand wash with warm water and a soft cloth only, using washing-up liquid as necessary. Pat dry with a towel and/or leave to air dry naturally. Do not put in microwave.

The silver paint will oxidise and change colour over time, this is not harmful and the natural tranformation can be enjoyed as Keshiki ("landscape"), however to make it shinier again a melamine sponge may be used to remove any yellowing, and if heavily tarnished then the silver can be gently polished with a paste of baking soda and water.

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