In Japan, Artisans Create ‘Cut Glass From Edo’s Past’
From a collection started as part of a museum exhibit as a teaching resource to the world, “Cut Glass from the Edo Period” is now a real treasure.
Toshihiko Oohara is a third generation glass designer who started out with his father’s business, the Oohara Glass Factory, in 1973. His father was the man who discovered and made the first thin-layer glass, a piece of glass that is now used in many of the most famous restaurants in the country, including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Tokyo Hotel in Tokyo, the Suntory Tower Hotel in Osaka, and the Aoyama Glico Hotel in Tokyo.
Oohara’s father was also on the team at the Toyo Bunko Museum in Kanazawa and opened the first museum there, the Art of the Japanese People (Toyo Bunko Museum) in 1968. So even when Oohara moved away to attend college in 1972 to study for a technical degree, he continued to work at the museum.
As an adult, Oohara never stopped working in the family business, which has been in business for over 60 years, until it closed its doors in 2008. Today, in his basement workshop and workshop space, Oohara works as a freelance designer and designer consultant.
“We could not have opened our shop in Tokyo without the support of Toyo Bunko Museum,” he says. “We have been building up a collection of contemporary glass art pieces since 1983 at the time of the closure of the factory, so our collection is now quite large.”
Toshihiko Oohara’s collection of contemporary glass art pieces.
Oohara’s collection of “Cut Glass from the Edo Period” features pieces by an array of artists from the time period of Tokugawa Ieyasu to the present. Oohara started with three pieces in the collection as a way to learn about the history of the piece’s