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What is Tatara ironmaking?



Tatara ironmaking is Japanese ancient and traditional ironmaking method. In the modern steelmaking process, a pig iron is first smelted from iron ore and coke using a blast furnace, followed by the production of steel by decarburizing the pig iron using a converter. On the other hand, in Tatara ironmaking, iron sand and charcoal were used instead of iron ore and coke, respectively, and steel was directly produced. Compared to the modern process, it seems that the Tatara ironmaking method was operated under lower temperature and higher oxygen potential.

It is said that the quality of steel made by Tatara ironmaking method is relatively high, and Japanese sword can be made only using Tatara steel. On the other hand, the productivity was lower and therefore it was replaced by a modern method at an early stage of Showa Era. However, used technology in this method is of great interest. Namely, it used powdery iron ore (iron sand) and the operation was done under lower temperatures and higher oxygen potential, which is believed to be applied to modern steelmaking. Further we believe that it is very effective for the education for ironmaking by our experiences through dozens of operations.

Tatara ironmaking: 概要


Tatara ironmaking operated in our laboratory




As mentioned above, the operation of traditional Tatara ironmaking was obsoleted at an early stage of Showa era by the introduction of modern efficient steelmaking imported from Europe. After the world war II, it was restored by the support of The Iron and Steel Institute of Japan in the former Yoshida village (currently Yoshida-cho, Un-nan city), and currently it was operated only three times in winter by the directing of The Japanese Sword Museum.

Besides, many researchers, groups, and interested persons, etc. try to perform small-scaled Tatara ironmaking. In our laboratory, we employ a modified small-scaled Tatara ironmaking proposed by Prof. Kazuhiro Nagata (Professor Emeritus, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan).

Tatara ironmaking: 概要


Place of operation


  • 自家用車で来学の場合:守衛で訪問先(理工学部機械工学科山末研究室,テクノコンプレクス実験棟)を伝え,案内されます駐車場をご利用ください.


  • 下図を参考にしてください.


  • By public transportation: please see following official link;

  • By car: please ask a security guard at the gate the fact you visit Yamasue-lab in Techno-complex experimental building and use parking spaces to be introduced.


  • See following picture (sorry in Japanese). The operation venue is an open space in front of Techno-Complex experimental building (テクノコンプレクス実験棟).

Tatara ironmaking: 概要
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