Beautiful Patterns Ground by Hand
Hanashyo, the manufacturer and seller of edo kiriko, has a relatively large staff for an edo kiriko workshop of 13. It does everything, from the product designing to production to sales, in house, without turning to any external designers or consultants.
Hanashyo is particularly characterized by its practice of energetically creating its own pattern designs besides cutting traditional patterns. Its own typical designs include Itogiku Tsunagi (thread chrysanthemum links), incomparably finer and more precise than any edo kiriko from any other workshops, and Kome Tsunagi (rice links), which adorned the wine glasses used in an automaker’s TV commercials and presented to the state guests attending the Hokkaido Toyako Summit.
There are other characteristics of Hanashyo’s edo kiriko than its original patterns: that the entire processes are done by hand. Today, most edo kiriko workshops employ acid polishing in the grinding process, which uses sulfuric acid, hydrogen fluoride, etc. The chemicals used are not just harmful to the environment but also scrape the surface of cut glass, reducing the glass’s shine. For this reason, at Hanashyo the craftspersons grind edo kiriko by hand.
The reason why Hanashyo’s edo kiriko is modern and full of originality becomes clear when one sees the workshop’s craftspersons. While this industry suffers serious aging of craftspersons and lack of business successors, Hanashyo’s craftspersons are mostly in their 20s to 40s. The way the staff and Takayuki Kumakura, president of Hanashyo who is the oldest in the organization, always talk to one another as they work is full of vitality.
In 2010, Hanashyo’s craftspersons organized “Hanashyo’s , Japan’s first edo kiriko school hosted by craftspersons, for the further development of Japan’s glasswork. The school has many courses from the introductory to the professional development, focusing on keeping the edo kiriko techniques alive among younger generations.
Needed for the future of edo kiriko are modern aesthetics and younger craftspersons who embrace it. At Hanashyo, craftspersons exchange fresh ideas vibrantly day in and day out.