Rin crossing > Rin crossing artisans - Hirota Glass Co., Ltd.

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Old downtown district of Tokyo’s skill & style creating charming new Edo Kiriko - Hirota Glass Co., Ltd.

Old downtown district of Tokyo’s skill & style creating
charming new Edo Kiriko - Hirota Glass Co., Ltd.

Sophisticated Edo Aesthetics

Hirota Glass Co., Ltd. Sold in a museum shop in New York that carries modern art.
Bamboo Series

Hirota Glass was established in 1899 in Sumida Ward, a district of Tokyo that retains a folksy downtown appearance, that is around 1km south of Tokyo Sky Tree. Hirota Glass has produced lamps, dishes and daily items that are made by glass. In recent years, they have been focusing on producing Edo Kiriko glass, a craft that has been brought up since ancient times in this area.

Kiriko is glass that is engraved with cut patterns and Edo Kiriko, with its 200 year history, has been certified as a national traditional craft.

"We are manufacturing items, bringing sophisticated Edo aesthetics and keeping them handmade, taking advantage of high skills of craftsmanship. Cut glass crafts are found in many regions in the world, however, we feel that Japanese traditional crafts are highly acclaimed at overseas exhibitions." says Tatsuo Hirota, the president.

It seems that their mission is to bring the beauty of Edo kiriko to the world.

Adding modernity to tradition through collaboration

Hirota Glass has received inquiries from European high brands that are leader countries in glass crafts. The reason that it is so highly rated is its “creativity” backed up with strong skills.

“In order to develop traditional craft, we need to add something to traditional techniques.

Therefore, we are actively promoting collaboration with different areas of production, different industries and young designers. Never-seen-before beauty and value will arise from these collaborations," says Mr. Hirota.

Currently talked about "Futa Choko" was born from a collaboration with an up-and-coming female designer. A new yet traditional form was created by fusing together the techniques of a skilled craftsman and the senses of a designer sensitive to trends. While using handed-down Edo Kiriko glass patterns, the lineup of items are also easy to use and have a great design, to blend in easily with a modern lifestyle. Also, the "milky invisible ink technique" which is gaining popularity in retro designs, is a reproduction of an advanced traditional technique. Hirota Glass, with its motto "new designs are born purely from a wide range of techniques", creates these superb items.

Hirota Glass Co., Ltd. Futa Choko Series Stylish items born from a collaboration with designers
Futa Choko Series
Hirota Glass Co., Ltd. Hanarai Karai Series With a soft, graceful form that resembles a flower bud and made using a traditional expressive style -
Hanarai Karai Series.
Various expressions are created depending on the material, technique and color.

When you touch you'll understand – the beauty of glass

Mr. Hirota says, "we are also looking for new techniques and expressions, such as incorporating Ukiyo-e designs. As our items are hand-made, we cannot mass produce them, but we want to pursue modern life Edo Kiriko possibilities." So, with new ideas, he is making use of glass for interior decorations, building materials, etc. The company has continually been receiving orders from public buildings in Sumida Ward, such as a Kiriko glass plate used at the counter of a bathhouse in Ryogoku, an andon lamp inside a popular commercial facility tower and an interior decoration at the entrance of a commerical building complex in Nihonbashi. At "Sumida Edo Kiriko Hall", certified as a Sumida Ward studio workshop, items are not only bought and sold, but the work processes of Edo Kiriko are also displayed and introduced. You can actually view the craftsman at work and also experience making cut glass yourself. At nearby "Sumida Coffee", you can enjoy a pleasant drink inside an Edo Kiriko cup.

At the time of being certified as a traditional craft of Tokyo, there were around 120 Edo Kiriko craftsmen. Now there around 70. At Hirota Glass, only craftsmen who have the best skills are enrolled but, even for a relatively simple carved glass, in one day around six are made. Kozo Kawai, an Edo Kiriko craftsman, says "these uniquely hand-made items are rare and delicate, and there are no two the same in the world."

Today, this patient work is continuing so that you can actually hold and feel the beauty of the cut glass items in your hand, with their traditional classic patterns and innovative designs.

Tatsuo Hirota, president of Hirota Glass Co., Ltd. Tatsuo Hirota, president of Hirota Glass Co., Ltd.
Hirota Glass Co., Ltd. Edo Kiriko craftsman Kozo Kawai Edo Kiriko craftsman Kozo Kawai
Rin crossing

About the"Rin crossing" certification mark.

On JAPANSQUARE, this logo mark appears on the left of the image to show a Rin crossing certified item.

Please note the following before use

  • * In general we strive to ship all orders within 9 days, but some craft items on JAPANSQUARE may require longer than this. If this is the case for your order we will inform you by phone or email, and we are of course happy to take your inquiry at any time.
  • * There are many fragile pieces. Please be aware of the vulnerabilities of the materials used for your item and treat them carefully.
  • * If you have any questions about when your order will be shipped or how it is used please don't hesitate to contact us. If specialist knowledge is required to answer your question we will contact the manufacturer.
  • * There are many Rin crossing items (particularly traditional craftworks) that are hand-made. As a result, the item's color, shape etc. may vary slightly from that shown in the photos.
  • * Please note that we do not provide refunds or exchanges for any reason other than there being a fault with the item.

Rin crossing | The Place of Discovery

SME Support, JAPAN | Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, JAPAN