Edo Kiriko (“faceted glass from Edo”) has been a traditional craft since the Edo period. Mitsuwa Glass, established in 1971, is a relatively young studio among them. Since its establishment, the studio has been trying to expand the world of Edo Kiriko by taking on the challenge of constantly creating new products while carefully applying the tradition.
A vibrant studio where young craftsmen are active
Located in Soka City, Saitama Prefecture, the chairman of Mitsuwa Glass, Tsuneji Hayashi, saw the potential in the beauty of Edo Kiriko and started the studio in 1971 after leaving his job at a glass wholesaler. He acquired machines and tools and taught himself the faceting technique. Currently, there are about 10 craftsmen in their 20s and 30s, and the studio is full of vitality and energy.
The main process of traditional crafts, including Edo Kiriko, consists in using advanced traditional techniques, therefore it takes a long time to learn. Among the technicians engaged in the manufacture of traditional crafts designated by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, only those who maintain advanced skills and techniques are allowed to call themselves "Japanese Traditional Craftsmen”. It is surprising to learn that Mitsuwa Glass has three traditional craftsmen of Edo Kiriko, since there are only about 20 in Japan.
Currently leading the young craftsmen as the chief craftsman of the studio is Haruki Ishizuka, one of the Japanese traditional craftsmen. Fascinated by the patterns and brilliance of Edo Kiriko, he chose to become a Kiriko craftsman after graduating from university. His works are delicate, yet have an overwhelming presence. He is an avid exhibitor at the Edo Kiriko Shinsaku (new work) Exhibition and has received numerous awards.
Opening up a new world of Edo Kiriko
Mitsuwa Glass Works is known as a studio that handles a variety of cutting techniques and glass materials. For this reason, the studio has a wide range of tools for cutting glass, such as diamond wheels. If there are no tools that meet the needs, it is willing to develop them on its own. They are a group of spirited craftsmen with a lot of ambition and up-and-coming spirit.
A Mitsuwa Glass's workshop, Saiho, is full of motivation to create something new while inheriting the tradition. While using traditional patterns, many of the products have bold and delicate designs that change the image of the traditional patterns. Each piece is carefully made by hand by skilled craftsmen.
For example, the checkerboard patterned glass is not a detailed design as in the past, but a bold cutting that divides the glass into two parts, top and bottom. In the case of Fuji and cherry blossoms, a typical Japanese design, the depth of the glass is utilized to create illusions: when you look at the side with Fuji engraved on it, it looks like the moon is hanging over Fuji, and when you look at the side with the moon on it, Fuji can be seen inside the moon. Enjoying sake while admiring Fuji and the moon is also an enjoyable experience. These works can be the Edo Kiriko of a new era, born from the fusion of traditional techniques and young sensibilities.
Many people may think of red and blue glasses when they think of Edo Kiriko, but Saiho features a wide variety of colors, including black, purple, green, yellow, and pink. It would be a good idea to use different glasses for different occasions and moods. The colorful Edo-kiriko glasses are sure to make your drinking experience more colorful. They are perfect not only as items for yourself but also as gifts for your loved ones.
The Edo Kiriko studio, featuring three Japanese traditional craftsmen. They, while following the tradition, are challenging new designs and techniques that have never been seen before in Edo Kiriko. Known for their diverse cutting techniques and work with a wide variety of glass materials, their specialty is to arrange traditional patterns in a modern way with a young sensibility.View the works of "Mitsuwa Glass"