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Insight into our Asemi Artisan Packaging

Lars Amhoff

To wrap up our Artisan cups we came up with a very practical and at the same tim eco-friendly solution.

The box is made from a single sheet of thick recycled cardboard, wrapped around the cup. The single straight sheet leaves a lot less wasted cardboard than a normal box. The packaging closed by a sticker, that serves as informative medium and also holds the box safely shut without any need for glue or staples.

The way the cardboard is wrapped around the cup makes the packaging very stable, to avoid lots of plastic wrapping for shipping and at the same time allows the customer to easily view the precious content, each cup being a unique piece, without having to open the box. Each one contains information sheets on the artisan and pottery style, printed on thin washi-style paper.

Every box is has a hand screenprinted logo on top and is wrapped individually by ourselves in Tokyo.

Our Bizen-Yaki cups also feature a seasonal stamp showing when the kiln was fired for this specific cup and a number for each cup.

Mono Japan 2017

Yuki Ishiguro

The first exhibition of our young brand took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands at Mono Japan. Among 24 other wonderful creators and brands from Japan, we presented Asemi Co. in one of the beautiful rooms of the Lloyd Hotel. 

It was a great pleasure welcoming the sophisticated guests who took great interests in our products and their stories.


We were able to present the different types of cups with our specially designed show-shelves that perfectly integrated in to the cozy room.


The Bizen-Yaki Kiln

Lars Amhoff

Earlier this year in February, we visited the Narutaki Kiln in Bizen, Okayama Prefecture. On this cold and rainy day, Kiko Ando, owner and artisan of the kiln, invited us to take a look at his studio. His workplace is remarkably tidy and shows the discipline with which he creates his works. 

The firing wood is piling up outside the studio. The kiln needs a lot of it to reach and hold the high temperature for a whole week.

In the hut where his kiln is, he showed us how he prepares the clay he uses. He collects clay from different parts of the hills of Okayama, and mixes them by hand to gain his preferred clay type. It is crushed, mixed with water, then drained before being formed by the hands of Mr. Ando.

Heavy clouds were hanging on the hills of Irinaka in Bizen. 

Kyushu Roundtrip May

Lars Amhoff

In May Lars came all the way from Germany and we visited Kyushu to make a really exciting 3 day roundtrip to visit artisans and porcelain factories! Via Fukuoka we drove through the many valleys and mountains of the beautiful island to meet artisans in Onta in the Oita prefecture and to visit our future Hasami-Yaki factory in Hasami in the Nagasaki prefecture. We'll recap both of our major stops in bigger follow up posts but we couldn't wait to give everybody an impression on our first Kyushu visit!



Arrival in Onta, home of Onta-Yaki. The Onta ware manufacturing technique  dates back to the early 18th century and the large water powered wooden hammers are still used today. In fact, the only electricity used in the production of Onta ware is the potter's wheel. 


The first day of the trip was rainy, but the mountains in Oita looked even more mysterious with thick fog hanging on them. 


The artisan shaping a Onta-Yaki bowl with his hands, later applying the signature Onta ware pattern seen on a pre-burn bowl below.



The second day the weather switched to a very sunny day, making it possible for us to walk around the village. Seen above is one of the many wood fired "Noborigama" kilns in Onta. Each of those structures contains a number of smaller kilns to burn the ceramics in. Below you can see the giant water powered wooden hammers, banging on the rough clay day and night to make it as fine as possible.


Luckily we were able to witness the rare delivery of new clay, which takes place only every 2-3 years.



Our next stop was the small village of Nakaogo in the Sonogi County of Nagasaki Prefecture. In a valley, surrounded by tea plantations, a group of old buildings sit tightly together. The whole village is involved with the long running pottery business of Hasami-Yaki.  


After a tour around the village we visited our future Hasami ware manufacturer in his Studio Ghibli-esque factory. The sun falling into the wooden halls winding along the mountainous terrain over different levels made us fall in love with the place right away.


The electric kiln where our pure white porcelain goods are being burnt.


One last gaze over a tea plantation in impressive landscape of Kyushu, right behind Nakaogo before we started our way back to Tokyo where we parted ways again and Lars went back to Germany. 


Making of the first Prototype

Lars Amhoff

We are very thrilled to present the first significant step on our journey to the first Asemi Co cup. The way to the very first prototype, made by the first artisan we selected and now have the pleasure to work with.

It all started with the design of the cup, which will be given life by various artisans. The cup had been shaped by us and tested via rapid prototyping, to make sure everything ends up being as we intended. The design we chose has a unique enough look to stand on it's own but has still enough breathing room for the artisans to give it their own touch and therefore balances contemporary design with traditional Japanese “Yunomi” tea cup styles. With the same finished cup design we approach artisans of traditional Japanese pottery styles from various regions in Japan.

はじめに、Asemi Co.にとって最初のカップ制作をめぐる旅、その重要な第一歩をここに紹介できることを嬉しく思います。私たちは、選び抜いた最初の職人の手を借りてプロトタイプ第一弾の制作に取り組み、この素晴らしいパートナーとともに大きな一歩を踏み出しました。


The first one of these artisans is Tomoki Miyazaki from Nagano, Japan. His workshop is located in in a remote area of Matsushiro, surrounded by hills full of peach trees. He represents the traditional style of “Matsushiro-yaki”. 


On our first visit Mr. Miyazaki was very kind and gave us a tour of his workshop “Amakazari". We got to look at all of his work in various stages of completion and got a great impression on how he approaches his work from beginning to end.


On our visit in February peach trees were still protected from the cold by straw.

Mr. Miyazaki’s kilns outside of his workshop. The wood powered kilns are operated completely by hand, from controlling the temperature to the right moment and placement of the wood. The wood shown above is used for firing the kiln.


The first time seeing the kilns. Each of our artisans has his own style of kilns, with it's very specific handling. 


Mr. Miyazaki gave us a up close and personal introduction to his craft. We witnessed how a cup is given shape by the artisans refined touch. 


Working on our first Asemi Cup prototype?! We were holding our breath towards the moment Mr. Miyazaki would reveal what our vision would look like, given form by his craft.


The moment of truth! On our next visit we were able to hold the first Asemi Co. cup prototypes in our hands. We had anticipated this for a few weeks and they were finally finished. And the outcome was great. The sheer quality and unique look exceeded our expectations. 

We decided to run another round of prototypes for a perfect fusion of Mr. Miyazaki's style and our vision of the cup, which we will present as soon as it’s done! So thanks for reading and stay tuned for the final version! 

そうして、松代への2度目の訪問でAsemi Co.のプロトタイプカップはついに完成しました。何週間も待ち望んだこのカップの仕上がりは素晴らしく、その品質と個性的なデザインは想像以上のものでした。