Ibaraki Kōgei Taizen (Glass Art Exhibition)

When:          January 2 – March 23 9:30 – 5pm*
Where:         Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum, Kasama city
Admission:   Adults 700 yen, High School/University Students 500 yen,
Elementary and Junior High Students 250 yen

In a discussion of craft in Ibaraki, you will often hear about Kasama pottery, Yuki silk, and Shunkei lacquerware, but this prefecture’s glasswork is also deserving of a mention. From the glass beads excavated from old tombs and the heirlooms of the Hitotsubashi Tokugawa family to glasswork studios and companies such as Studio Silica in Kitaibaraki and Kagami Crystal in Ryugasaki and the local individual glass artists, Ibaraki has a thriving glasswork scene. In addition, the works of master glass artists from Japan and around the globe, including Iwata Tōshichi (1893-1980), Iwata Hisatoshi (1925-1994), Kagami Kōzō (1896-1985), Fujita Kyōhei (1921-2004), and Harvey Littleton (1922- ) can be found in collections all around Ibaraki.

The goal of the Ibaraki Kōgei Taizen is to present the appeal of Ibaraki’s local crafts by going beyond pottery and introducing people to a much wider range of works. The first part of this series will focus on glasswork, collecting a number of pieces from local artists and some of the famous glasswork from local collections under one roof.

Exhibition Guide

Part 1    Ibaraki Glass Collection

1.1: Past to Present
Glass Beads Exhumed From Tombs
Hitotsubashi Tokugawa Family Heirlooms
Bohemian Art Nouveau

1.2: The Masters of Modern Glasswork
Kagami Kōzō/Iwata Tōshichi and Iwata Hisatoshi
Fujita Kyōhei and Masters Around the World

1.3 Modern Glass Artists – From the Collection of Studio Silica (Kitaibaraki City)

Part 2    The Glass Artists of Ibaraki
Matsumura Matsuo/Sako Jirō/Uzawa Fumiaki/Shioya Naomi/Abiru Shōgo/Ōkubo Shigemi/Takei Morihiko/Sugiyama Yōji/Kawakami Tomomi

*Entry until 4:30pm. Closed on Mondays.  Open on January 13 but closed the following day.

Kagami Crystal Glass Factory

ImageThe Kagami Crystal Glass Factory is the oldest crystal glass factory in Japan, established by Kozo Kagami in 1934 in Ryugasaki City, Ibaraki Prefecture. With over 70 years of history and crystal glass making experience, the Kagami Crystal Company has developed unique hand glassblowing, cutting, and engraving techniques that their artisans employ to produce delicate and beautiful pieces that can only be described as works of art. Kagami Crystal produce both clear and coloured glassware.

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 Kozo Kagami studied crystal glass making in Germany, and after returning to Japan and establishing Kagami Crystal he continued to work on perfecting his technique. His skills have been recognized with a number of awards. In 1943, Kagami Crystal was commissioned by the Imperial family to make glassware to mark the marriage of Princess Shigeko, eldest daughter of Emperor Hirohito. Since then Kagami Crystal has received a number of commissions from the Imperial family. Kagami Crystal glassware is now also used in Japanese Embassies all around the globe. The variety of glassware Kagami Crystal produces also includes specially commissioned bottles for perfume and luxury liquor.

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 Kagami Crystal houses a number of artisans who practice Edo Kiriko, a glass cutting technique that originated toward the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). They have been designated as masters of Japanese traditional crafts, a certification issued by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. These artisans blend the traditional patterns of Edo Kiriko with more modernised designs, producing enchanting and unique cut glassware.

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 Kagami Crystal offers free guided tours of their factory on weekdays, for groups consisting of 5-60 people. For safety reasons, you must be of at least 20 years of age to participate in the tour. Tours must be booked in advance, and are offered in Japanese only. Kagami Crystal has three stores in Japan; their main store at the factory in Ryugasaki, and a store each in Tokyo and Osaka. The spectacular range of Kagami Crystal glassware can also be purchased at a number of specialty stores around the country, the full list of which can be found on their website, www.kagami.jp.