ABOUT US

- About Mashiko and Moegi

Perry's arrival in Japan and Mashiko pottery. The Beginning of Otsuka Heihachi Kiln
Mashiko pottery began during the turbulent period when Perry came to Mashiko in June 1853. Otsuka Heihachi Kiln (the predecessor of Moegi) was founded in 1862 and was the fourth or sixth kiln in Mashiko. (The kiln was located halfway up the Jouchizaka slope. The kiln was located in the middle of the Jouchizaka hillside. The kiln began five years later, in 1867, during the turbulent period of the end of the Tokugawa shogunate when the Great Restoration took place.



Mashiko and the Heihachi Kiln in the Meiji Period
During the Meiji period, Mashiko's main products were kitchen utensils such as water jars, mortars, and earthenware bottles. In order to open up a new era in the Meiji period and confront the development of the distribution system, the "Masho Company," "Tokyo Mashikoya," and "Mashiko Pottery Company" were established by the investment of wealthy families and led the local industry.

Heihachigama mainly produced earthenware bottles, lamps, tokkuri, plates, kataguchi, earthenware pots, and other items. However, a fire broke out at the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912), and the kiln was temporarily suspended while its assets were sold off.



The Great Kanto Earthquake and Shoji Hamada
In the Taisho era (1912-1926), demand for Mashiko pottery declined sharply as fuel changed from charcoal to gas and other fuels, and kitchen utensils were made of aluminum, which could withstand high heat. (In August of 1920, production was halted for a month.)

Later, in 1923, when the Great Kanto Earthquake hit Japan, kitchenware in the Tokyo area was damaged in large quantities, and suddenly there was a huge demand for Mashiko ware, so much so that production could not keep up.

At that time, a large amount of rice and Mashiko pottery were shipped from Mashiko on the Moka Line as donated goods.

Shoji Hamada, who had been working in England at the time, suddenly returned to Japan and established a base in Mashiko in 1930 and began making pottery there.

Kamakko and Kamakko's Achievements

In 1956, Tsumakkotsu began manufacturing containers for Yokogawa's "Touge no Kamameshi" (rice cakes made in a mountain pass). The pottery industry as a whole began to boom. By 1973, the annual production was 2.6 million pieces. In addition to the production of kamakko, a "research student system" was established to accept young people from outside the company, giving them a place to study freely and producing many potters.


Establishment of the Co-operative Sales Center and aspirations

In 1966, the Mashiko Pottery Center was established. The founding members of the center worked to make Mashiko a production center where people would come to shop, and they held bargain sales and other activities to attract customers.
In April 1981, Mashiko was broadcast live for 15 minutes on NHK's "Fresh Rotary in the Morning" program, which triggered a dramatic increase in the number of visitors. This led to the establishment of the Pottery Market Executive Committee, and in 1982, the "Bargain Sale" became the "Mashiko Pottery Market.

In 1972, Shigemitsu Otsuka, the former chairman of Moegi, established an affiliated company, Mukohara Pottery Co.


From Otsuka Heihachi Shoten to Moegi Co.

In November 1970, Heihachi Otsuka, the fourth generation of the company's founder, established Otsuka Heihachi Shoten Ltd. At the same time, the Heihachi Kiln was reestablished.
In 1979, "Moegi," a store specializing in Kasama pottery, was established in the Ceramic Plaza Tsukamoto,
In August 1993, Otsuka Heihachi Shoten was reorganized as Moegi Co.

During this period, Otsuka Heihachi also participated in "Mashiko and Kasama" at the Futakotamagawa Takashimaya Shopping Center and other locations.
During this period, the company produced large-scale events such as the "Mashiko and Kasama Vessels Exhibition" at the Futako-Tamagawa Takashimaya Department Store and other locations.
In October 1995 (Heisei 7), Moegi opened the Moegi Jonouchizaka store. The majority of the store's space is changed every two weeks, making it a store where customers can buy different items any time they visit.
In 1996, the Mohegi Satellite Shop was opened alongside the Jonouchizaka Store, and became a central BtoB store as a warehouse-type wholesale store.
In January 2009 (Heisei 21), Moegi opened its main store in the Ohane district of Mashiko Town. The creation of a "playground for adults" continues to this day.
In October 2022, the satellite store of the Jouchizaka store was reopened as "moegi BASE.


The Great East Japan Earthquake and the new Corona

The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 (Heisei 23) brought the greatest damage to Mashiko in its history. Almost all climbing kilns collapsed, and works displayed in kiln studios and sales stores, as well as those stored on warehouse shelves, were cruelly damaged. Stores in Mashiko lost more than a decade's worth of business profits and inventory all at once.


The first case of coronavirus infection was confirmed in Japan on January 15, 2020. Due to the rapid spread of infection, the pottery market that year was cancelled and a "Web Pottery Market" was hastily held.


Although the new strain of corona initially caused a significant economic loss, including a large decrease in the number of tourists, many dealers, potters, and artists saw an increase in sales as a result of increased online sales due to the rapid expansion of SNS and "increased demand for household goods due to stay-homes," and many of them have now shifted from pottery fairs and weekend-intensive tourist attractions to a year-round "stay-and-go" style market. The Mashiko pottery market is now transforming from a tourist attraction focused on weekends to a "stay-and-go" Mashiko that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

The Future of Mashiko and Moegi

At the time of the creation of Mashiko pottery, Mashiko's predecessors aspired to "create an industry in Mashiko," Shoji Hamada and others talked about "making Mashiko a handicraft village," and those involved in the establishment of a joint sales center aimed to "make Mashiko a production center where people would come to shop.
The ideas of the predecessors of each era have now become a reality and Mashiko has developed, and now a DMO has been established with the aspiration of "making Mashiko a town of "koto" consumption" and "making Mashiko a stay-and-go tourist destination.


Moegi would like to play a part in this effort.
Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara (a doctor) said, "What is life? Life is 'time. We must cherish the irreplaceable time we have left, and cherish each and every day.
Both "koto consumption" and "stay-and-go tourist attractions" require visitors to spend their precious time (life).
Moegi wants to be a place where visitors can enrich their precious time. We want to be a place where you can wash your life. We want to be a place where the crafts and art you purchase can create happy moments in each home. We are working to sell such works.


Through our work, we would like to continue to be a company that can create "happiness" for our customers who support Moegi.


Introduction of each store

Main store

We display a variety of handicrafts such as ceramics, wood, glass, and iron, and propose items related to the living environment.
Please relax and enjoy the nature of Mashiko at the attached cafe.

Jonaisaka store

Based on the concept of "growing up with artists," solo exhibitions are held every two weeks featuring artists from Mashiko and Kasama.
We hold special exhibitions, etc.
We introduce a wide range of artists, from young artists to veterans.

BASE

Renovated the Moegi Jonaisaka store warehouse
Pre-opening in 2022.
This shop sells standard products recommended by Moegi, agricultural products made in Mashiko, and processed products. A grand opening with a cafe is planned for October 2023.