Raku is a family name. Only that family make real raku, everything else is [“Utsushi”] or imitations.

Raku Family

Hereditary professional name “kichizaemon”

  1. Chojiro ? – 1589
  2. Jokei 1561 – 1635
  3. Nonko 1599 – 1656
  4. Ichinyu 1640 – 1696
  5. Sonyu 1664 – 1716
  6. Sanyu 1685 – 1739
  7. Chonyu 1714 – 1770
  8. Tokunyu 1745 – 1774
  9. Ryonyu 1756 – 1834
  10. Tannyu 1795 – 1854
  11. Keinyu 1817 – 1902
  12. Konyu 1857 – 1932
  13. Seinyu 1887 – 1944
  14. Kakunyu 1918 – 1980
  15. Kichizaemon 1949 –

Raku ceramic

There are two different styles called Raku nowadays. One is the traditional Japanese style and the other is Western Raku. The difference is Western raku takes the bowls out of the kiln and puts them in a container of leaves or newspapers or something that will burn. This is done to create very shiney and colorful glazes. It is opposite of what Rikyu wanted.

For traditional Japanese raku exist four main types of collours: black, red and white raku, and then the amber colored style called Ohiyaki. Ohiyaki is made by Ohi Chozaemon in Kanazawa city. The glaze for black raku is traditionally made from Kamogawa ishi, or stones from the Kamo river in Kyoto, and then mixed with lead. All traditional Japanese raku is made by hand because its what Rikyu thought was best.

Rikyu Shichi-shu

Rikyu had seven favourite chawan made by Chojiro, they are called Rikyu shichi-shu as a set:





The name means “big black.” The name can also be read “Daik Koko” which is the name of the god of prosperity. Popular among merchant. Takeno Jo-o lived in Daikoku-an.



Toyobo was a friend of Rikyu that lived in Shinnyo-do. Rikyu gave him the bowl, and named it after him.



The name means fast ship. It is said that Rikyu needed the bowl in Kyoto and had it brought to him by the means of a fast river ship from his home in Sakai.



This bowl was left behind at Chojiro’s kiln. When Rikyu discovered it he said they must all be blind monks. It received the name Kengyo, which is the highest title a blind monk may receive.



The name means “tree guardian.” There is a tradition to leave one persimon on a tree as a guardian that will ensure a good crop next year. This tea bowl was left when Rikyu invited hid Daimyo friends to chose one bowl each, and so it became known as the Kimamori.



Rinzai or Linchi was the Chan master of Tang China whose lineage was brought to Japan by Yosai.