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Satsuma Kiriko Cut Glass (薩摩切子?) was cut glass which was produced by Satsuma clan from the final years of the Edo period to the beginning of the Meiji period (1868~1912). It was also called Satsuma glass. Today it is being reproduced.


Shimazu Narioki(1791~1859), a Japanese feudal lord of the Edo period, the 27th in the line of Simazu clan loads of Satsuma Domain, began to invite glass craftsmen from Edo that is now Tokyo, and produced Satsuma-kiriko. The way to make it was based on the foreign books from Nagasaki and Narioki’s son Shimazu Nariakira brought in it as one of the parts of his Shuseikan Enterprise, the first Western style industry in Japan. It was very advanced craftwork. Nariakira loved it , so it was send to other feudal lords as presents. After his death, the skills of making Satsuma-kiriko was discontinued in the beginning of the Meiji because of the reduction of the enterprise, the damage of the factory in Bombardment of Kagoshima, and disturbance by the Satsuma Rebellion . The craftsmen and skills are spread to Tokyo and Osaka. There are only few Satsuma-kiriko which was produced in those days, therefore they purchased at high prices as antiques.

The difference between Edo-kiriko and Satsuma-kiriko

Edo-kiriko featured transparent and colorless glass. While Satsuma-kiriko is more delicate and featured overlaying colored glass. According to the recent study, the new one is produced since the section of the colorless Satsuma-kiriko is tidied up. The feature is the deep color of overlaying colored glass. Also cutting the glass boldly brings the beautiful gradation of color.

Reproduction and present

From 1985 a glass factory,an artisan, and the researcher ware cooperated and tried to reproduce of the Satsuma-Kiriko and it succeeded. In 1989 Satsuma glass industrial art under the supervision and direct management of Shimazu corporation was certified as a traditional artifact of Kagoshima. At present, the restoration and the reproduction which reproduce the existing old Satsuma-Kiriko faithfully; and newly designed and color which is based on the feature are produced and sold.

Area of production

Satsuma-kiriko is made in Kagoshima Prefecture. The production of the material of the overlaying colored glass and the reproduction of the works are done in the workshops of Satsuma Glass Studio and Satsuma Vidro Craft. Making kiriko needs sophisticated skill because the overlaying colored glass makes it difficult to manipulate the grinder. Part of Satsuma-kiriko production is out-sourced to Edo-kiriko craftsmen.


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