Edo kiriko is a glass-cutting handicraft that began in the late Edo period. The origin of this craft dates back to 1834, when a craftsman, Kagaya Hisabe, first created a new technique of cutting glass with powdered emery.
In the late Edo period, transparent lead glass (crystal glass) was the main glass material used for this craft. The patterns were familiar ones seen on kimonos, such as bamboo fencing, chrysanthemums and hemp.
Now, many Edo kiriko pieces are made using faded glass. The layer of colored glass is thin and vivid.
In 2002, Edo kiriko was designated as a Traditional Handicraft by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Shigaraki yaki is a traditional pottery fired in Shigaraki town, Koka, in Shiga Prefecture. It is one of the six original ceramic sites of ancient Japan.
The origin of Shigaraki ware can be traced to the piece Shigaraki-no-miya, which was made by order of the Shomu Emperor in the Tenpei period. Later in the Kamakura, Muromachi, and Ando-momoyama periods, Shigaraki ware was used for tea ceremony implements. In the Edo period, Shigaraki ware began to be acknowledged as an everyday ware.
Nowadays, Shigaraki ware consists of various forms for different purposes. Characteristics of Shigaraki pottery are its odor of natural mud and the cracks in its surface made by fire. In other words, the mixture of mud and fire creates a sophisticated pottery with the elegant naturalism of wabisabi.
In 1976, Shigaraki ware was designated as an important cultural asset.
Hizen Glass Ware or sometimes called Saga Glass Ware dates back to 1852, when Masanao Nabeshima, the domain lord of Nabeshima Province, built a finery to manufacture cannons on the Tafuse River, Saga City. At the finery, a glass kiln, which was very rare, was also built. Items such as beakers and flasks as well as table ware and lamps were made in those days. Hizen Glass Ware is made by the technique called “mouth-blown method,” in which a mold is not used but glass is made into shape by a workman blowing the air into the pipe. This traditional handicraft with a history of over 100 years is a city’s designated Important Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is still popular along with the nostalgic name of “Bidoro-fuki (glass blower).”
This glassware, referred to as “Tsugaru Bidoro (vitrified glass)”, is a prefecture’s designated Traditional Craft Product. The technique used in this glasswork was originally that of making glass buoys for fishing in the area around Mutsu Bay. This glassware is made by “mouth-blown method,” which has been handed down for over 2100 years. The glass material is first fired at 1500 degrees, and then it is fired again at 1200 degrees to transform into glass. Next the red-hot glass is rolled up with a pipe and swollen by blowing the air into the pipe. After the glass begins to take shape, the craftsman adjusts it to the final form by swinging the pipe carefully. This is the moment when lively art is made out of inorganic substance of glass by the hand of a skilled craftsman. Its transparent refreshing color tones remind us of the ocean of Mutsu Bay. Tsugaru glass ware is not only beautiful but also practical. The main items vary from traditional incense burners and flower vases to daily necessities such as sake-cups or glasses, which are now very popular all over the country.