Kyusu Tokoname
Isshin Yohen

Studio Isshin

Original Japanese handcrafted side handle teapot from Tokoname, with an integrated ceramic sieve. Natural red clay with unusual colouring achieved through a combination of reduction and oxidation firing. 380ml
Type Ombré Tokoname-yaki kyusu teapot with side handle
Origin Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Studio/Artist Isshin
Volume 380ml
Dimensions Ø10.7 x 7.4cm
Weight 269g
Material Ceramic
Glaze Yakishime (焼き締め)
Production Ikomi casting then hand assembled
Strainer Ceramic (cera-mesh)
Artist's Stamp No
Packaging Box

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Isshin 一心

Founded in 1980 by Sadao Tsuchihira (土平 貞雄), the Isshin kiln specialises in traditional ash and irabo glaze Tokoname wares that emphasise the natural beauty of the clay. In 1996 Tsuchihira’s son Eiichi (土平 栄一) joined the family business. Whether products are mass produced or one-off, Isshin makes their pottery with all their heart – hence the name which translates to “wholeheartedness”.


The traditional Japanese teapot, kyusu are typically made of ceramics with a side handle placed at a 90° angle to the spout for ease of pouring – however the handle can also be found over the top or in the back. Kyusu are perfect for preparing green teas and tend to be on the small side to prevent overbrewing. Depending on the size, shape and type of clay a kyusu is made from will determine what type of tea is best prepared in it. There are many different regional styles as well as kyusu made by certified master craftsmen, which are prized amongst collectors.

Tokoname-yaki 常滑焼

Pottery has been produced in the city of Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, as far back as the 12th century. Tokoname was the site of the largest and oldest of the legendary Six Ancient Kilns of Japan and is celebrated for its local iron-rich shudei clay that turns red after firing. When fired a second time in a reduction oven, the red shudei turns black – the other characteristic colour of Tokoname-yaki. Traditional Tokoname kyusu teapots are unglazed on the inside, allowing the tannins in the tea to react with the iron in the clay body, which is said to reduce astringency and highlight the sweetness of green teas. Since 1976, Tokoname-yaki has been protected as a traditional craft of Japan.

Yōhen 窯変

Written as “kiln change,” yōhen refers to the variations in colour and texture of ceramics, which happen during firing. This technique is a feature in various Japanese pottery styles, including Tokoname, Shino, Bizen and Tenmoku. Within Tokoname-yaki, the red/bronze and black two-tone effect can be achieved by partially burying a red, oxidation-fired item in rice husks or ashes and refiring it in a reduction furnace, which will turn the exposed part black, while leaving the buried part red.


This traditional kyusu is made from natural clay in the famous Tokoname region, by the respected Studio Isshin. The studio was founded in 1980 by Sadao Tsuchihira, who now runs it together with his son Eiichi. The focus at Isshin is on the creation of kyusu and dobin with ash and irabo glazes. The yohen firing technique was used for this kyusu in order to achieve a special, unique colouring. The studio has already won several awards for its work.

Tokoname is one of the six ancient ceramic centers in Japan. High quality earthenware has been produced there since the 12th century. The clay deposits that are still there contain iron, which is responsible for the characteristic red shade of the clay which, together with the oxidation burn, is so crucial for optimising the taste of the tea. A special feature of the production of kyusu from Tokoname are the hand-ground and precisely fitting lids.

The tokoname are unglazed inside to emphasise mild, basic aromas. Particularly suitable tokoname for basic-mineral and mild-balanced green teas of the second and later harvests, such as bancha, genmaicha, hojicha, sannenbancha.


As with all unglazed ceramics, wash with warm water and a soft cloth only. Do not use detergents or put in the dishwasher. Pat the outside dry with a towel and/or leave the kyusu to air dry naturally with the lid off. If tea leaves get trapped in the filter, brush away with a soft brush, such as a toothbrush.

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