Mr. Isamu Sase
Taito Ward, a town of craftsmanship. Many traditional crafts that date back to the Edo and Meiji Periods still exit, and are kept here. The skills are maintained by sheer persistence of the craftsmen. Glass pen at Sase Kogyosyo is one of the examples.
Magnificent glass pens
with the tip and the shaft in one
Iriya is located right in the middle of two major sightseeing spots of Taito Ward, Ueno and Asakusa. This is home of Mr. Isamu Sase’s factory, where glass pens are made.
Glass pens are a type of writing implements invented by a wind chime craftsman, Sadajiro Sasaki , in 1902. The late meister, Yonezo Sase , received training with Sadajiro Sasaki, and later started his own business in Iriya under the trade name of “Kanemo Jirushi ”. Mr. Isamu Sase commenced his training as a glass pen craftsman in 1955.
“A glass pen has chases at side of its tip, through which ink is absorbed. Glass pens allow ink to last exceptionally long enough to write a postcard in one dip.”
This is due to capillary action (phenomenon where liquid penetrates through narrow space), and glass pens initially had two chases, and after trial-and-errors, now have eight chases.
“We originally made only the pen tips with glass and the shaft with bamboo and so on. The current glass pens with the tip and the shaft in one were invented in 1989.”
Said Mr. Isamu Sase, who is the inventor of this all-in-one glass pen.
Heating glass with a burner
to add the twisted design
In 1989, the first all-in-one glass pen was developed by burning a stick with eight chases used for a pen tip and by adding the unique twisted design to it.
A glass stick with eight chases, which is especially prepared by a glass factory, is used.
“This glass stick with eight chases is twisted evenly to both directions to make the design. Each pen is carefully crafted completely by hand, which result in each pen having a unique design.”
Creation of this all-in-one style allows exceptional quality as a writing implement, as well as its noble beauty. Glass pens turned into an elegant art work, and have been advertised in various magazines and TV shows, and also have been adopted by an international fashion brand as their pen.
Excellence of these writing implements is once again cherished because of the time of digitalization. Glass pens from Sase Kogyosyo are regarded as art work, and are popular as gifts. Their website also displays their beautiful products.
Carefully crafting each glass pen
with the son-in-law
Mr. Sase was awarded as Taito Ward Excellent Skilled Person in 1998, and Taito Ward Designated Livelihood Cultural Properties in 1999. Moreover, Mr. Sase was also selected as the Tokyo Meister (Tokyo Excellent Skilled Person) in 2012.
Various traditional crafts that continue since the time of the Edo Period are practiced even now in Taito Ward, the town of craftsmanship. “Edo Shitamachi Dento Kogeikan (Traditional Crafts Museum ) “ in Asakusa displays as many as 350 art pieces from around 45 industries. Mr. Sase also participates in events at this gallery.
“Glass pens are unparalleled, precious art work that can be created only here. I hope this skill to be succeeded in the future.”