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Edo Kiriko
(Cut Glassware)

22 Edo Kiriko (Cut Glassware)
Main Areas of Manufacture
Koto Ward, Edogawa Ward, Sumida Ward
Designation/Certification Dates
July 15th, 1985 (Tokyo Certification)
January 30th, 2002 (National Certification)
Traditional Technologies and Techniques
  1. Sumitsuke (ink application) involves the use of a bamboo stick to apply ink to the surface of glassware. This preparatory process creates a basic outline of the patterns (designs) to be cut in glass.
  2. Arazuri (rough grinding) involves the basic grinding of glass in accordance with the pattern applied to the surface using the sumitsuke process. Emery powder (a grinding agent) is applied to the surface of a metal grinding wheel. This then comes into contact with the glass, and major elements of the pattern are etched accordingly. The next process (Sanbankake) is the application of finer grain emery powder in order to carry out more detailed pattern etching. Depending on designs, three different types of grinding wheel may be used.
  3. Ishikake (whetstone grinding) involves the use of a whetstone grinder to smooth and better define patterns etched during earlier grinding processes. Natural whetstones from the southern island of Kyushu are used.
  4. Kenma (or Migaki) is the process of polishing the glass. It involves even finer-detail grinding of those surfaces that are to be non-transparent. It also brings out the traditional luster associated with transparent glass surfaces. When doing this step, polishing powder is used with a wooden polishing wheel (made of either Paulownia or Willow). The design is carefully polished in order to heighten both the transparency and luster of the glass.
Traditionally Used Raw Materials
Glass materials (crystal glass, soda lime glass)
History and Characteristics

Kiriko is a form of glass cutting in which grinders and whetstones are applied to the surface of glassware, and a number of different cutting (or grinding) techniques are employed in order to manufacture products.

The originator of the traditional craft of Edo Kiriko (cut glassware) was Kagaya Kyubei, who ran a glassware store in Edo's Odenmacho (in the vicinity of modern Nihonbashi).

Kyubei is said to have learned his craft in Osaka, which at one stage was a leading center of glassware production in Japan. After completion of his apprenticeship, he returned to Edo and opened a glassware store in the city, where items such as eye glasses, thermometers and hydrometers were produced.

Edo Kiriko techniques deliver exquisite patterns that are both sparkling and lustrous when applied to suitable glassware such as "crystal glass," such techniques delivering products of great intrinsic value.

As Japan moved from the Taisho Era to the Showa Era, manufacturing evolved so quickly that "cut glass" came to be synonymous with "artistic glass," with the industry reaching its pre-war zenith around 1940.

In contemporary times, approximately 80% of Edo Kiriko manufacturing occurs in Koto and Sumida Wards.

Concerning Satsuma Kiriko (cut glassware produced in Kyushu), which is as equally loved as Edo Kiriko, it resulted from the Satsuma Domain (who ruled over modern Kagoshima Prefecture) inviting the Edo glassware manufacturer, Yotsumoto Kamejiro, to establish glassware production in the domain. This industry grew quickly as the government of Satsuma fully supported its development.

Contact Details
Manufacturing Area
Cooperative Name
Tokyo Cut Glass Manufacturing Cooperative Association
Address4-18-10 Kameido, Koto Ward, Tokyo 136-0071
Telephone No.03 (3681) 0961
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