Makanai Makanai

A Hybrid Pot
Made of Earthenware,
Metal and Cutting and
Shaving Technology

MOLATURA

Business operator: MOLATURA Co., Ltd.
Project manager: Kota Matsumoto

The “best pot” series, released in April 2018, uses two materials: earthenware for its body and cast iron for its lid. Its most notable characteristic is high airtightness achieved despite the use of two different materials.

The pot itself is Bankoyaki ware, a traditional craft of Yokkaichi-shi, Mie Prefecture. This is a thriving pottery-producing region of heat-resistant earthenware, with the most prominent example being earthenware cooking pots. Even though the high far-infrared ray effect of earthenware pots make them suitable for heating foodstuffs, highly precise molding proved difficult and creating a tight seal between the pot and the lid for better airtightness posed a challenge.

MOLATURA Co., Ltd., the seller of the “best pot” series, has overcome the challenge by drawing upon its original cutting and shaving technology. Shaving fragile earthenware was extremely difficult, but artisans’ excellent shaving techniques made it possible to maximize the airtightness between the pot and the lid. Their aspiration to create products that offer unique value to individual users has taken the shape of this one-of-a-kind pot.

“best pot” Highlights

  • Stocking and Drying Kiri (paulownia) Logs In-House

    Shaving the body

    An earthenware pot, created by molding and firing, offers a certain level of airtightness, but increasing a tight seal between the body and the lid has its limit. To resolve this, the body of the pot is shaved precisely to one thousandth of a millimeter to create a 60 degree angle at the section where the lid sits on the body. This has served to increase the pot’s airtightness dramatically.

  • Traditional Craftsmanship Used for the Finish

    Shaving the lid

    To match the 60 degree angle, the cast iron lid undergoes precision lathe processing to one hundredth of a millimeter. In addition to the excellent fitting between the pot and the lid, the lid’s own weight, which is more than 1 kilogram, automatically increases the airtightness. The back of the lid has small bumps with a bulge at the center, which efficiently circulate steam from foods and enable waterless cooking in the pot.

  • Leveraging Know-How to Develop New Products

    Shaving the knob

    The lid knob is also lathe-processed. As shown in the photo, the cylindrical metal block on the right is cut and shaved into the slim shape on the left. The lid and its knob are both made of iron, and the foundry coating applied to their surfaces adds a distinctive feel.

  • Kiri (paulownia) Box Culture Encourages a Mindset of Giving

    Checking airtightness by pouring water on the pot

    The airtight seal created between the pot and the lid is checked by pouring water on the finished product. If there is no dimensional error in the cutting and shaving process, no water permeates through the lid edge. Precise fitting means less heat to escape the pot, allowing fireless cooking using residual heat. Cooking rice, which requires fine heat tuning, is made easy with this pot. All you need is placing rice and water in the pot, turning off the heat after it starts boiling and letting it steam for 20 minutes, and you will get perfect and glossy cooked rice. Stew can be made without adding water.

INTERVIEW

Hirofumi Fujii

Takuya Yamazoe

Takuya Yamazoe is president of MOLATURA Co., Ltd. After joining Nakamura Mfg. Co., Ltd., which engages in the processing of precision parts, in 2000, he became the company’s president in 2001. Established as an in-house brand department in 2015, MOLATURA was incorporated in February 2018 and released the “best pot” series in April 2018.

Fusion of Tradition and Technology to Create Unique and Lasting Value for Users

MOLATURA is a brand established by Nakamura Mfg. Co., Ltd. with the aspiration to create products, not toss-away expendables, to which users attach special, lasting value and want to use for a long time, by drawing on its shaving technology cultivated over many years. The “best pot” series, which was created after many trials and errors with designers and a pottery manufacturer, is a product filled with their aspiration.

A chance to enter into the overseas market came when they showcased the pot in the Tokyo International Gift Show held in February 2018 and received an unexpected offer to sell the pot in the United States. They had not initially set their eye on the overseas market, but President Takuya Yamazoe intends to give it a try on the back of increasing interest in Japanese food and growing health consciousness worldwide. He also believes making a bold action now will be justifiably rewarded in the future. Regardless of where they do business, they will take the same approach: to deliver products only they can create by fusing a local traditional craft and proprietary technology. They now envision holding workshops overseas and even open an eatery to convey the appeal of their “best pot.”

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In addition to the high heat retaining property inherent to an earthenware pot, the “best pot” series has a special double-layer structure to circulate heat by convection, which warms up the pot uniformly and ensures even cooking and enhanced food palatability. The inner glaze uses volcanic ashes of Mount Aso to increase far-infrared emissions. With the lid in place, the pot retains heat for about three hours. It is available in five colors: black, white, pink, pistachio green and mustard yellow.

LOCATION

location

Yokkaichi-shi, Mie

MOLATURA is based in Yokkaichi-shi in Mie Prefecture, one of Japan’s representative industrial areas. The region is also famed for production of traditional Bankoyaki ware, and enjoys about 80% domestic share in production volume of highly heat-resistant earthenware pots in particular. Mizutani Shoten Aoi Pottery, producing pot bodies for the “best pot” series, harnessed its excellent techniques to realize the double-layer structure used in the series.

CORPORATE DATA

corporate

MOLATURA Co., Ltd.

Nakamura Mfg. Co., Ltd., founded in 1914, specially engages in the processing of hard-to-shave materials under the motto “We shave everything except air” and boasts outstanding technology to carry out shaving with a margin of error within three thousandths of a millimeter. Nakamura Mfg. established the MOLATURA brand department in 2015. Now a separate company, MOLATURA not only offers the “best pot” series but also “SAMURA-IN,” a titanium seal.