Namazume refers to the shape of this cup, which literally translates as ‘raw nail’ in Japanese. The shape references a famous Iga vase of similar form that was once owned by Furuta Oribe (1544-1615), a daimyo and celebrated tea master who was a disciple to Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591). Furuta gave away the vase at the earnest request of his tea student Ueda Soko (1563-1650) when he wrote; “to give away this flower vase is a similar pain to having my nails removed raw,” and so named the vase “Namazume.”
Japanese potter Kojima Yosuke creates a staggering variety of vases and vessels at his studio in Iga that he established in 2003. His outstanding work that uniquely harmonizes with flowers and food has been selected by many boutique restaurant owner-chefs in Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo.
Kojima-san trained as a chef at the Kyoto Culinary Institute. After graduating culinary school in 1997, he became intensely interested in making bowls, plates and other containers for food and flowers. This is perhaps because he grew up in Iga, a historic pottery town with vigorous pottery tradition for the followers of the Way of Tea. He changed course and learned pottery from his own father, Kojima Kenji, an Iga pottery heavyweight in Japan, famous for his dynamic and original style of wood-fired work.