Soejima Glassware originated from Saga clan research laboratory where a glass kiln was set up to produce glass in the middle of the 19th century in Saga Prefecture. Founded in 1903, Soejima Glassware Co., Ltd. is the only manufacture that inherited the techniques and the tradition of Saga Glass. In the beginning, they produced mainly practical items such as dispensing bottles and lamp shades. However, with the changing times, a wave of mechanization took over the industry. It was during this period, that they shifted their business to production of craft products in order to preserve their hand-blown techniques which have been cultivated over the years. It was around 1970, when the current president Mr. Taro Soejima took over the company. He is an artist and he continued his pursuit in making art objects even while he is managing the company. Since then, their product came to be known as “Hizen Vidro”.
Soejima Glassware features free-blowing which is a glass forming style characterized by exhaling air into a molten portion of glass without using any mold and the method is designated as an important intangible cultural heritage of Saga Prefecture. Also, the forming technique called “Japan blowing” using two blow pipes is a skilled technique which requires more than 10 years to master. Soejima Glassware is the only manufacturer that inherited this technique and the “Hizen Kanbin”, a bottle for warming up sake, is a popular product that is made by using this technique.
Currently, the sons of Mr. Taro Soejima, Takao and Masanori are working in sales and as an artisan in the company respectively. The “Jomon series” which applies rope patterns on the entire surface of the glass is a long-selling product of over 40 years. It is one of the main products which represents the company’s aim of creating glassware beyond generations. In addition, they continue to work closely on community-based activities such as holding workshops where anyone can experience these traditional techniques.