Japanese Tradition Engraved in the Finest Crystal
- Est. 1934
- Edo Kiriko (Cut Glass) Crystal Glass
- Hidetoshi Mochizuki
The First Crystal Glass Maker in Japan
Kozo Kagami, the founder of Kagami Crystal, went to study crystal glass manufacturing in Germany in 1927. He returned to Japan in 1930 and established the “Kagami Crystal Glass Crafting Laboratory” in Tokyo, beginning to create glass products. In 1934, he went on to found Japan’s first crystal glass factory.
In order to realize the pinnacle beauty of crystal glass, he relentlessly pursued the techniques he brought home from Germany. The products born from his inquisitive mind and creativity received a multitude of accolades, including Silver Prize at the Paris World's Fair and an honorary award at the New York World's Fair. His work pushed the craft of glass into an artform.
Kagami Crystal glassware, created from these masterful techniques, was recognized as official products of the Imperial Household Agency and were supplied to places like the prime minister’s official residence and Akasaka Palace.
In 1990, the company headquarters and factory were moved to Ibaraki Prefecture, and in 1997, their products received a designation as a Local Handicraft of Ibaraki Prefecture. These masterful techniques and top-tier quality, painstakingly cultivated since the company’s founding, have become widely known both in Japan and throughout the world.
Polishing Traditional Skills and Connecting Them to the Future
Kagami Crystal uses materials carefully selected by experienced craftspeople. Their crystal glassware boasts an extremely high level of transparency with an elegant gleam and clear tone without any blemishes.
They employ two techniques to cast glass. One is by putting glass wound around a blowpipe into a mold and blowing air into it to shape it (mold-blowing). Another shapes the glass by holding the blowpipe in the mouth and blowing without a mold (free-blowing). In addition, “irokise” crystal glass is made by covering the transparent crystal glass surface with a thin layer of colored crystal glass.
The gravure engraving technique, which Kozo Kagami enthusiastically learned in Germany, uses copper wheel engraving to carve patterns into the surface of glass with a disk-shaped grinder. These advanced techniques are great at producing gloss and blur. Cutting is performed with a grinder to whittle the surface of the glass to create geometric patterns.
Kagami Crystal has incorporated the cutting techniques learnt from the founder with Edo Kiriko, which has been passed down without interruption since the Edo period. Their pieces are made by their own glass cutters together with Edo Kiriko traditional craftspeople.
They strive to combine Edo period aesthetics with new innovations and come up with fresh, never-before-seen designs. They aim to create products whose adoration passes the test of time.
Message to Customers
Crystal Glass Brimming with Passion and Traditional Technique
Since their founding, the crystal glass manufacturing methods nurtured by Kozo Kagami have been passed down to Kagami Crystal craftspeople together with his beliefs in authentic craftsmanship. Techniques brought back from Germany by the founder were further honed by Japanese craftspeople, who are renowned for their abilities to do delicate, intricate work.
They hope that the stunning, fine patterns engraved in the crystal glass allow you to feel the beauty of Japan. They wish for customers to hold and touch their products and experience their passion for craftsmanship through the gleam of crystal glass.
Kagami Crystal feels pride as Japan’s pioneering crystal glass maker. They will continue to protect and polish these traditional techniques and forever strive to add radiance to everyday life.
Awards by Kozo Kagami 1937 Silver Prize Paris World’s Fair
1939 Honorary Award New York World's Fair
1958 Grand Prize Brussels World’s Fair
1960 Japan Art Academy Award