Japan Atlas: Traditional Crafts 
Edo Kiriko


Tokyo metropolitan area

Number of companies:

Number of workers:


Vivid color contrast is the beauty of exquisite Edo cut glass  

Edo Kiriko is a glass craft that has been handed down in Tokyo. In Edo (present-day Tokyo) in 1824, Kyubei Kagaya started exploring the technique of cutting patterns into the surface of glass.  

Edo Kiriko was fosterd in the urban culture among the townspeople, and during the Meiji era (mid-19th century), the craft introduced not only Western equipment and instruments, but also their technique while preserving traditional techniques and has been passed down to the present time. 

First of all, an expert glassblower blows clear glass into a paper-thin shape of colored glass and then rotates this in the air to make the overall form. The result is a two-layer structure with colored glass on the outside and clear glass on the inside. By cutting patterns into the outside surface with different kinds of whetstones, a vivid contrast is created between the colored glass and the transparent glass. 

In 1985 Edo Kiriko was designated a Traditional Craft Industry by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. 

To qualify as a Traditional Craft Industry, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government stipulates that the main process of manufacture must require the expert manual skills, the history of the techniques used must date back at least a century, and the craft must use traditional materials. 

Photos: Glasses of Edo Kiriko, An artisan making Edo Kiriko (Tokyo Metropolitan Government) 

Unauthorized reproduction of the photos in this page is prohibited. 

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