May 13, 2017

Shotoku Glass Co. - Usuhari story

Modern, tradition
& ultra minimal.


Visiting the Shotoku Glass Co. studio in Tokyo.
Makers of the Usuhari and Black range of Glasses.

Almost a year ago, I was lucky enough to visit the Shotoku Glass Co. and met the wonderful Yoshifumi Saito who is the exclusive director. He took me through the factory and I heard their great history.

Usuhari glasses are famous for their remarkably thin glass and rim and have become a symbol for fine craft and workmanship. Their factory is located in Kinshicho, Tokyo, an area that was once a thriving merchant town where many glass factories were once dotted amongst other trades. But in more recent years, the whole town has been damaged by mass produced goods from overseas with many factories closing their doors and leaving many skilled artisans struggling.

Shotoku had it's fair share of struggle too, but with Saito on board they've honed their approach to business and craft. They modernised their design and produced products that are so fine in their technique they can't be replicated in mass production. It's level of craft that can only be produced by very few craftsmen, and is well beyond machine processes.

This combination of ageless, minimal design and exquisite finish have seen the Shotoku Glass co. flourish again and their glasses are now sort after the world over. They're also one of our most popular, long-selling products in our store and our other NZ stockists. Their sleek looking glasses have been featured in many magazines here already.


It was spring time, the air was still a bit crispy outside, but the inside the factory was warm with an enormous firing kelm in the middle of the factory. The temperature inside the kiln will reach up to 2000 ℃. I was blown away by the worker who was standing and doing their job in silence, I can't imagine what it's like in a hot Japanese summer.        



They use the same technique as making light bulbs, the super thin glass is hand blown by experienced craftsman. I also learnt that there are certain conditions required for making glass - clean water, keeping the extreme temperature consistent and highly skilled hands. This town is a suitable place where they have all these conditions available.     

電球を生み出すのと同じ原理で造られる"うすはり硝子”、均等な薄さ0.9 mmに達成させる為には、経験を積む職人技が煌めきます。ガラスが生産される工程には沢山の工夫が幾つもあり、また硝子を拵えるのには、”綺麗な水/高温の熱を保つメカニズム/職人技” この3原則が重要で、錦糸町はこの条件を満たす長い商業の街としての歴史と、人材が備わっている場所であると伺いました。


What was most encouraging to me was seeing the success of a company making traditional, hand made goods that treasure quality and design above all else. The Shotoku Glass Co. have reinvented themselves as leaders and innovators in their field, and if they keep those values in tact they're sure to do great things.


A big thanks to everyone at the company for making time for me. I was very honoured to meet you all. It's given me more drive than ever to keep working hard and do what I can to support companies like them.
私達アン アスチュート アッセンブリーも松徳硝子の商品をニュージーランドをはじめ海外でご紹介できることに誇りを持ち、日々精進して参りたいと思います。

This Shotoku Glass collection is available online at  or At The Shelter in Auckland, NZ. 
For more details and enquiries:
Watch the amazing video of their creations. 

Thank you so much for reading. Have a wonderful month !