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Okuizumo-cho , Shimane Related category:
Osumigama Kiln Construction and Charcoal Burning Technique - The Technical Inheritance of the Yamako, the Charcoal Burners for Iron Making    

Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 36 minutes
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Okuizumo area, comprising three counties (Iishi, Nita and Ohara) in Shimane Prefecture, has its own unique culture different to that seen in the peninsula or the plains of the district. This is partly thought to have been a benefit brought by iron making. The technique of making iron was brought here through the Korean Peninsula, and it developed rapidly from the Yayoi period (from about 300 BC to 250 AD) to the Kofun period (from around 250 to 538), when it was used for making farming equipment. Iron was also used to create weapons which influenced the fate of the power of the area. The background to this areas iron making was the fact that it abounded in granite which contained a chemically superior magnetite suitable for iron-making, as well as the fact that it had a good water supply and a rich resource of wood for charcoal production. We can seldom see charcoal burning scenes nowadays. In Okuizumo-cho, however, Tatara, Japans only traditional iron-making technique, is still practiced and its special iron (Tamahagane) is still being produced.

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