KYOTO GOES KAWAII: Hand-hammered metal pots and pans make for bang-on souvenirs

November 22, 2013

By CHIKAKO NUMATA/ Staff Writer

Editor's note: This series showcases what we are calling "kawaii" (cute) items locally made in the iconic Japanese city. The series runs on Fridays and Saturdays.

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KYOTO--The Westside33 metal hammering studio and shop stands just west of the famed Sanjusangendo temple, which literally means "hall with 33 bays."

The shop offers a wide range of saucepans, pots and pans made by Shigeru Terachi using a traditional "tankin" metal hammering technique. For instance, there are at least 10 types of the "yukihira-nabe" saucepans.

"There are places where they make pots with the tankin technique, but we are the only one that offers this many varieties," said Terachi, a tankin specialist of 60 years standing.

Keeping the same thickness throughout a pot is what craftsmanship is all about, he said. When the thickness is not constant, food ingredients cannot be cooked evenly.

It takes about 10 years for a tankin specialist to develop a capacity to feel whether or not a pot is of the same thickness, the artisan explained.

Hand-hammering marks left on the surface give each piece a distinctive texture.

Terachi, 77, also cooks with his products to make improvements. A fishing enthusiast, he said he came up with an oval-shaped pot with two handles because "it is fit to cook a whole fish and can be served at the table as is."

Address: 578 Shichikencho, Yamatoooji-dori Shichijo sagaru, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto.

Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.

By CHIKAKO NUMATA/ Staff Writer
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A "yukihira-nabe" saucepan is made with traditional "tankin" metal hammering technique. (The Asahi Shimbun)

A "yukihira-nabe" saucepan is made with traditional "tankin" metal hammering technique. (The Asahi Shimbun)

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  • A "yukihira-nabe" saucepan is made with traditional "tankin" metal hammering technique. (The Asahi Shimbun)

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