This Tanba Tachikui ceramic tokkuri, or sake flask, shows Fushimi, our company's location, and Kasagiya, the name we traded under when we were founded, on the iron-glazed outer surface. Glaze would have been applied using a bamboo tube, in a technique known as tsutsugaki (tube-writing), leaving the characters raised above the surface.
Tokkuri with placenames or shop names on them are called kayoi-tokkuri (flasks for patrons) or kashi-tokkuri (flasks for loan), and were used for selling by volume or for shipping samples for tasting. There were a range of sizes, from around 4 go (720 mL) to 1 sho (1,800 mL) or more. In the latter part of the Edo period, tokkuri became smaller, with the most common type being the 2.5 go (450 mL) version used for drinking.
A Kasagiya tokkuri in the same style was unearthed in November 2008 from the remains of the Fushimi Magistrate's Office, which was the administrative headquarters of the castle town of Fushimi. The surface of the tokkuri was scorched, and according to its discoverer, this would have happened during the 1868 Battle of Toba-Fushimi, when the magistrate's office was burned down in an attack by forces of the new imperial government. The sake sold by volume that the tokkuri would have held would not have kept long, which suggests that the shogunate samurai who were camped out in the magistrate's office may well have exchanged cups of sake before going out to confront their enemy.