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b. benten is the online shop for high quality handmade ceramics and houseware items from Japan rooted in tradition for everyday use. Our mission is to introduce Japan's master artisans to the world by offering their limited work and covering fascinating stories of craftsmanship.

Kukan Chuzo



Kukan Chuzo factory ©2013  Tohoku standard project. 

Kukan Chuzo factory ©2013 Tohoku standard project. 


The Cast Iron Kettle has been produced in Japan for hundreds of years. 

Nambu ironware (aka Nambu Tekki) is from Iwate prefecture, which is all the way up in north of Japan.... yet the literal translation of Nambu Tekki is "southern ironware".  It is apparently because the area was known as "Nambu" back in the days.  There is a long history as to why this area was called Nambu, but we are not getting into it here.  There are 2 areas in Iwate prefecture that the ironware are produced: Morioka City and in Mizusawa City to the south (currently is a part of Oshu city.)  

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.


Nambu ironware is not only beautiful and practical but nutritious and 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.  It is rich in iron, making it a hot topic among health conscious people who tend to be low on iron.

Because of these facts, Nambu ironware has become quite popular for Western homes, where people enjoy their tea.  And Nambu ware in a variety of colors have made their appearance recently too.  


[Factory shop info]  
Address: 33  Horinouchi Hadacho, Mizusawa ward Oshu city, Iwate        


Kukan Chuzo products available at b. benten: