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b. benten is the online shop for authentic wabi sabi ceramics and housewares items from Japan for everyday use.  We expose Japan's master artisans by covering numerous potters and ceramic topics, and offer worldwide shipping for rare handcrafted items.   

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World Famous Nambu Tekki

Maya Nakamura

We would like to start off our blog by introducing the Nambu Tekki ironware.  The iron kettle is quite popular overseas already, so some of you might know what it is. But here is a quick breakdown of what Nambu Tekki is for those who are not familiar with it.

 

Nambu Tekki is a traditional ironware that has been produced since the 17th century in the area known as Nambu (around Morioka in Iwate Prefecture). Specifically, the ironware is produced in the two cities in Iwate: Morioka City, and Mizusawa City (which is currently a part of Oshu City). Nambu Tekki is known for its deep black beautiful form with practical function. Due to its complex production process, Nambu Tekki requires superior craftsmanship; there are 68 steps in making a standard kettle. It is said that it takes at least 15 years to become a decent ironware maker, and 40 years to become a master craftsman. There are many other ironware products including pots, pans, paper weights, bottle openers, streetlamps, wind chimes, and metal ornaments. Nambu Tekki is eco-friendly, and as long as you dry the ironware after each use, surprisingly it can last more than 100 years.

At B. Benten, we would like to offer Mizusawa's teapot and the kettle that were certified as a Traditional Craftwork of Japan in 1975.

 

Nambu ironware is not only beautiful and practical but highly durable as well. Applying one of the techniques that has been used in the production of iron kettles since the old days, the inside of Nambu ironware is burned over a charcoal fire for about an hour to oxidize and coat its surface, which then prevents rust. Hot water boiled in an iron kettle is mild and tasty, and the water quality is said to get better and better with repeated use of the kettle. Such hot water is rich in iron, making it a hot topic among health conscious people and women who tend to be low on iron.

Some artisans in Japan have been exporting their products to Europe and America, so their ironware can be seen in Western homes, where people enjoy their tea.

Recently Nambu ware in a variety of colors have made their appearance as well, proving to be very popular all over the world.

While it is made of metal, Nambu ironware has a mysterious texture of unique softness and warmth. The best way to understand this is to try taking it in your hands yourself.  

B. Benten offers both teapot and tea kettles.