One evening, Tsurumaru, 46, was imbibing and admiring his Karatsu-yaki sake set when he noticed that an unglazed section at the base of the ceramics had the appearance of senbei dough.
He decided there and then to try his hand at making senbei that looked the same as Karatsu-yaki as he had never heard of them being inspired by traditional pottery.
Souvenir hunters looking for something different now have an item they can really sink their teeth into: rice crackers designed as delicate porcelain teacups.
At first glance, one wouldn’t expect the “Karatsu-yaki tohen senbei” to be edible, given that they look like prized Karatsu-yaki tableware.
Perhaps just as odd is that they are sold at Nakazato Tarouemon Tobo, a famed Karatsu-yaki pottery studio founded here more than four centuries ago.
The studio commissioned confectionery maker and wholesaler Tsurumaru to learn the molding and painting techniques for Karatsu-yaki pottery to create the special rice crackers.
The senbei are displayed near the entrance to the studio, each priced at 300 yen ($2.60), along with dainty “mamezara” small plates. The crackers are based on four representative patterns of Karatsu-yaki, including plant-themed “e-Karatsu” and “Chosen-Karatsu” (Korean Karatsu), which features rice-straw ash and iron-based glazes in perfect harmony.
Header image: Koichi Anzai