The special red color, yellowish red, of the Kakiemon ware, which was made by a potter named Sakaida Kakiemon around 1650, is called “Kakiemon Red.” Kakiemon artificially created the red color of Japanese persimmon by trial and error.
The highly advanced technique of the distinctive red coloring has been a secret of the Kakiemon family over 350 years. The “Kakiemon Red” was a coloring due to experimenting of the craftsman, though he didn’t know science.
It is very interesting that the red color had a strong influence on European ceramics by way of pieces brought back by the Dutch of the East India Company from approximately 1680 A.D.
The coloring of “Kakiemon Red” is characterized by a stacking structure of three different thin glaze layers (Kakiemon Red, Nigoshite, and body). Nigoshite is a milky-white glaze layer, not a bluish white; a warmer white is matched to Kakiemon Red.
Nigoshite was first made by Kakiemon the 5th, disappeared for a while, and was then revived by Kakiemon the 12th and the 13th . Nigoshite means “water color after washed rice." To make Negoshite, three different kinds of clay are combined in the ratio of 6:3:1. Therefore, the shrinkage is different for each kind of clay; so almost 30 % of the products will succeed. For economical reasons, it disappeared for a while.
3. Kakiemon Seito Gijitsu Hozonkai (skills preservation)