Japanese tableware handcrafted by artists has subtle differences in shape, size, distortion, and glaze color, making each piece unique in the world. Japanese tableware is also more diverse than Western tableware, and it can be said that it has a great supporting role that complements the Japanese food culture and seasonal Japanese cuisine.
A major characteristic of Japanese tableware is that many bowls, such as rice bowls and soup bowls, are held in the hand. For this reason, many pieces are produced with an emphasis on texture—how it feels when the mouth or hand is touched. On the other hand, Western tableware is placed on the table and served with a fork, knife, or spoon, so porcelain, which is scratch-resistant, is the mainstream, and it is common to have a set of simple white plates. There are various types of Japanese tableware depending on the purpose and food, but the basic ones are rice bowls, soup bowls, medium plates, small bowls, and small plates. (Rice bowls: rice as a staple food; Soup bowls: soup such as miso soup; Medium plates: main dishes such as fish, meat, soy products, and eggs; Small plates: side dishes such as vegetables, mushrooms, and seaweed; Small plates: side dishes such as pickles and mixed salad.
Since ancient times, Japan has had its own food culture of "enjoying meals with your eyes," "enjoying seasonal dishes," and "holding a bowl in your hand and eating it with chopsticks." Japanese tableware has also been developed along with changes in food culture, with a wide variety of materials, shapes, colors, and patterns. Take, for example, plates. There are round plates, oval plates, rectangular plates, square plates (foursquare plates), sumikiri plates (plates with rounded corners), hexagonal plates, octagonal plates, rinka plates (plates representing flower petals), rimmed plates, and so on. Japanese tableware is familiar to us, and we are accustomed to using it every day, but knowing the history and meaning of its shape, color, and pattern makes the tableware we use casually more attractive and adds color to our daily lives.
We will also cover the basics of Japanese tableware on the Readings page, including questions that many people have, such as: "There are too many types to choose from." "I do not know how to choose or arrange them." "I do not know how to handle them." "I do not know how to care for them."