Japanese whiskey glasses are a true embodiment of the Japanese approach to adopting cultural icons from around the world and enhancing them with a touch of unparalleled craftsmanship and dedication.
Much like Japanese coffee, which boasts a unique refinement, and Japanese Tomoe River paper, known for its exceptional quality, Japanese whiskey glasses offer a distinctive experience that appeals to those who appreciate the artistry behind their creation.
These glasses possess a distinct charm, characterized by an almost rustic and unfinished aesthetic, which can be attributed to the Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi.
Wabi-sabi is a philosophy that celebrates imperfection, incompleteness, and impermanence, valuing qualities such as asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, austerity, modesty, and intimacy.
In contrast to the Western aesthetic principles championed by the Greeks and Romans, characterized by symmetry, balance, and refinement, Japanese whiskey glasses defy conventional notions of perfection.
While Western culture gravitates towards balance, ornamentation, and abstract symbolism, Wabi-sabi embraces the raw beauty of imperfections, as exemplified by a crooked teacup hewn from ancient stone.
The Edo (Tokyo) Glasses listed below epitomize this philosophy, appearing almost ephemeral, like they were sculpted from ice.
They exude an air of roughness and asymmetry, with their imperfections deliberately showcased just below the rim.
However, it is crucial to emphasize that these characteristics do not denote subpar craftsmanship.
On the contrary, each of these glasses is a testament to the artistry of their creators.
They are designed to be handed down through generations, functioning as both utilitarian objects and works of art, elevating the enjoyment of fine whiskey to a profound level.
Take, for instance, the Kimura Crumpled Old Fashioned Glass, a product of Kimura’s legacy in crafting exquisite glassware dating back to 1910.
These Old Fashioned glasses appear as if they were carelessly crumpled and then delicately smoothed out for a drink.
Each glass is painstakingly handmade, ensuring that no two are identical and that they carry the imperfections inherent to artisanal craftsmanship, such as tiny microbubbles.
Yet, it is precisely these imperfections that add character and uniqueness to each piece. Kimura’s designs have garnered such acclaim that they have earned a place of honor at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), a testament to their exceptional artistry and craftsmanship.
History of Japanese Glass
The Satsuma kiriko was created by glass craftsmen from Edo (now Tokyo) under the auspices of Shimazu Narioki (1791-1859).
In Nagasaki, foreign books were used as a model for our manufacturing methods. It was introduced by Shimazu Nariakira, the son of Narioki, into his Shuseikan Enterprise, manufacturing steel, textiles, and other goods through its factories.
Craftsmanship was excellent in the cut glass.
She sent several of them as gifts to other feudal lords and was extremely fond of them. As a result of financial hardships, damage to the factory caused during the bombardment of Kagoshima, and disruptions during the Satsuma Rebellion, the manufacture of Satsuma kiriko was discontinued during the early Meiji period.
Tokyo and Osaka became the centers of craftsmen and skills. Since Satsuma kiriko was only produced a few times back then, they command high prices as antiques.( Source)