ABOUT Ogatsu inkstone

Beautiful and functional handmade inkstone, produced in Ogatsu town.

The Ogatsu inkstone is made out of natural “Ogatsu stone” from Ogatsu town, in Ishinomaki-city. A history book indicates people in this district have produced inkstone since 1396. The history book, written in the Edo period, states Masamune Date, the first lord of the Sendai clan, visited Oga-island in this area for deer hunting and was presented with an Ogatsu inkstone durling the Genwa era (1615-1624), in the Edo period. The inkstone was praised by Date for its unique quality. Also, “Hounai-hudoki,” which was published in 1771, says “the Ogatsu inkstone is very elegant,” showing that its special reputation had already been established and recognized.

The Ogatsu stone is from hard black slate produced from a layer 230-250 million years old. It is strong and resists compression and bending. Also it doesn’t absorb water which helps it to last a long time. Because of its characteristics, it has been used in the construction of historical buildings. In 2012, 15,000 Ogatsu stone slates found in the tsunami disaster area were used for the restoration of the terminal building on the Marunouchi side of Tokyo Station.

The particles of Ogatsu stone are homogeneous and dense, so that the Ogatsu inkstone is superior in durability and creates good ink. It was designated as official “Traditional Crafts” in 1985. Craftsmen continue making the Ogatsu inkstone and protect its 600 years history even after the tragedy of Great East Japan Earthquake.


Ogatsu inkstone cooperating society

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