Zengoro (善五郎)

Zengoro is one of the head schools of the Kyo yaki (Kyoto style ceramic art). They are designated to the 'doburo yakimono shi' (brazier maker and potter), which is one of the Senke jusshoku (which means "Senke's ten designated craftsmen families," representing the ten highly skilled craftspeople who are the recipients of traditionally transmitted skills within specific families designated to serve the major tea schools [Senke] in Kyoto), and they have produced doburo (a ceramic portable stove for boiling water to make tea) and tea bowls for generations. The current head is the 17th.

They had been under the family name of Nishimura from the founder through the ninth generation, and their main product was doburo. They have been under the family name of Eiraku from the 10th generation onwards, and have made tea bowls as well as doburo. They officially changed their family name when Tokuzen succeeded the family name in 1871.

Zengoro's doburo include biscuit ware with a lacquer finish and earthenware with its surface polished.

In the Muromachi period, Sozen, who was the founder of the family and was under the family name of Nishimura, lived in 'Nishinokyo Nishimura,' Nara, and made ritual utensils for Kasuga-taisha Shrine. In his later years, he began to make doburo according to the request from Joo TAKENO, who lived in Sakai City, and he declared himself a doburo-shi (brazier maker) Zengoro. Sozen the second lived in Sakai City, and Sozen the third and the subsequent generations have lived in Kyoto. Sozen the third was given a bronze seal of '宗全' (Sozen) when he received the order from Enshu KOBORI, and the family put that Sozen seal on their works until the ninth generation.

Although they lost their estate and the seal due to the Great Fire of Tenmei in 1788, Ryozen EIRAKU the 10th restored the family fortunes with the help of the Sansenke (three Senke houses of the tea ceremony consisting of Omotesenke, Urasenke and Mushakojisenke). It is believed that they established a relationship with Senke in or after the time of Ryozen. Although the Senke jusshoku includes another tea bowl maker family called Kichizaemon RAKU, they and Zengoro have their own territories because Zengoro's major products are replicas of works which have been prized for a long time, while the Raku family focuses only on rakuyaki (hand-molded pottery).

In 1827, Hozen EIRAKU the 11th was invited to the opening ceremony of oniwa-yaki (which literally means "ware of honorable park", representing a lord's private kiln or ware made at a lord's private factory) held at the Nishihama Goten Palace, which was the second house of Harutomi TOKUGAWA, who was the 10th lord of the Kishu Domain, and he was presented with a gold seal of '河濱支流' (pronounced as kahinshiryu, which literally means "a riverside of the Yellow River and a tributary of the river", and this term was derived from the old Chinese tale that the ancient Chinese leader named Shun made durable ware at a riverside of the Yellow River) and a silver seal of '永樂' (Eiraku) in praise of his great works. The family has used the Eiraku seal from that time onwards and Wazen the 12th began to use the family name of Eiraku. The name Eiraku is also retroactively applied to Ryozen and Hozen.