Kagami Crystal's home since 1990 is the town of Ryugasaki in Ibaraki Prefecture. Though just north of the bustling Tokyo metropolis, this is an area of open flatlands, rivers and lakes. These waterways have sustained the thriving local agriculture for hundreds of years and were an important conduit for merchants ferrying their wares south to the capital during the Edo period.
The merchants may have disappeared in the modern era, but this is a place of vibrant historical memory; the medieval castle town of Ushiku, ruled by lords loyal to the Tokugawa shoguns, can be found close to Ryugasaki, while that town is also home to a remarkable statue of the Buddha, which at 120 m is one of the world's largest free-standing statues.
The original and finest Japanese crystal glass
The story of Kagami Crystal began when the company's founder, Kozo Kagami, who travelled to Germany in 1927. There, he learned the techniques required to craft the finest crystal glass. Upon returning to Japan, Kozo Kagami experimented and honed his knowledge and skills until he opened Japan's very first crystal glass factory in 1934 in northern Tokyo.
Kozo Kagami continued to strive to achieve ever-greater heights of beauty and quality in his craft. Believing strongly in absolute excellence and eschewing any short-termist approach to his work, Kozo Kagami's glassware quickly received the audience and plaudits they richly deserved. Kagami Crystal pieces won a string of international awards over the subsequent decades.
In addition to these awards, the ultimate accolade for Kagami Crystal is the use of their exquisite crystal glassware by the Japanese Imperial Household. Kagami Crystal can be found on the tables at state dinners and even in the official residence of the Prime Minister of Japan. There is surely no finer testament to the history of excellence set in motion nearly a century ago by Kozo Kagami.
The unsurpassed skills of master craftsmen
At the heart of Kagami Crystal's continued recognition and success are an uncompromising approach to technique and the use of the finest possible materials. The result is a range of crystal glassware characterized by unparalleled clarity of color and tone and with an almost-startling transparency.
Kagami Crystal utilize a range of techniques to create their masterworks. The shaping of the glass is a combination of two highly specialized methods. Mold-blowing uses a pre-crafted mold into which the glass is blown, allowing the creation of complex shapes, while the free-blowing method – the most traditional approach – is often used for specific elements, such as handles, and also for the initial stage of production, prior to the use of the mold.
One of the most striking features of Kagami glassware is the stunning contrast between vibrant color and crystal transparency. This effect comes from a technique called irokise, which involves the application of incredibly thin layers of colored crystal glass, often using pure gold in the process. The glass is then cut or engraved to heighten the contrast and reveal further interplays of light and color; the exquisite subtlety of the finished pieces cannot be replicated without the demanding techniques employed by Kagami through their master craftsmen.
Mesmerizing radiance and kaleidoscopic beauty
Kagami Crystal glassware is a masterful interplay of the finest international crystal techniques shaped through the prism of Japanese excellence, skill and craftsmanship. Like all great works of art, the effortless beauty and exquisite detail is the result of several lifetimes of dedication by Kagami's craftsmen and the unmatched experience they have passed down through the generations, starting with the founder Kozo Kagami.
These are pieces of radiant, shimmering luminosity and tactile beauty that will provide a lifetime of aesthetic appeal and enjoyment; Kagami aptly describes this as 'bringing a brilliance and dream-like quality to your everyday life'. It is little surprise, then, that Kagami glassware continues to win renown among the most discerning customers in Japan and internationally.
Awards by Kozo Kagami 1937 Silver Prize Paris World’s Fair