Kato Kagemasa (加藤景正)

Kagemasa KATO (1168 to May 3, 1249) was a potter in the early Kamakura period, and was regarded as the originator of Seto ware.

His common name was Shirozaemon. He was also called Toshiro for short. His Go was Shunkei. Although it is said that he was a younger brother of Kagekado KATO, there were a lot of uncertain points about his real picture.

In a general theory, it is said that he crossed the sea to south Song in 1223 with Dogen, came back to his own country after five years, wandered around the whole country, discovered the soil that was appropriate for earthenware in Seto of Owari Province and opened the kiln. It is said that his child Motomichi KATO also introduced himself as Toshiro and that the house was succeeded for 12 generations, and even now in Seto City, Aichi Prefecture, there is Suehiko Jinjya Shrine which enshrines Kagemasa.

On the other hand, it is assumed that baking tea containers in Seto was during Muromachi period. Even some of those which are regarded as his masterpieces are doubted about the year of making. On the other hand, a result of excavation reported that the beginning of fabrication of earthenware using glaze in Seto goes back to the early Kamakura period, so the possibility that Kagemasa himself or someone else who acted as his role model built the foundation of Seto ware during this period is said to be impossible to deny.