HISTORY

The History Of Yamagata Casting

It began in Yamagata 900 years ago during the Kohei Period. Yoriyoshi Minamoto got an order to conquer Oushu (an old part of Yamagata). During their battle in Yamagata, one of their warriors, (who happened to be a casting man) found that the sand along Mamigasaki river and the soil at Chitose Park was perfect for casting; so he decided to stay there.

600 years ago, in the first year of the Enbun Period, Kaneyori Shiba came from Osaki to Murayama in Yamagata. He built a new castle called Ksumiga castle. At that time Kaneyori ordered 9 casting workers to donate many of their casting products to him. The casting town was called Imono, which was next to Kokubunji Yakushii town.

Then came the Keicho Period, the number of casting workers in Imono grew to 17. They received protection from the landlord and were exempt from paying tax. The town was moved North to an area now known as Dou town. It was formed as an industrial town.

Yamagata casting was produced locally and used as a daily commodity and as a Buddhist altar item. Dewsanzans` worshipers and worshipers from all over Japan bought the casting products as souvenirs. Thats how Yamagatas` casting spread to many places around Japan. As casting techniques progressed, more products and larger items were made, such as the main bell of a temple. They strived and got a diploma for producing castings for the bell of Buddhist temples.

Yamagatas` casting continues up to today and is based on everyday commodity and art. It has a winning distinction with a solid reputation of traditional thin casting technique and the beauty of the surface called “Thin Beauty”.

In the Meiji Period year 9 (1876) Yamagata prefectural office was established. They recognized that Yamagatas` casting products was one of the best in all of Japan, so they helped to promote these products. In the Showa Period year 49 (1974) a law for the promotion of traditional industrial arts was passed. Yamagatas` casting is designed as a primary product. It is produced with a traditional handmade skill and technique. It is thought to have other excellent qualities such as enriching our lives with its elegance.