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Satsuma Kiriko cut glass

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Japanese crafts and handicrafts

Japan is proud of its long history of producing fine crafts and handicrafts. Many of these are officially protected by the government and various local and national history organizations.

Murahara sensei lives in Kagoshima prefecture in the south of Japan which, like many areas of the country, has some well-known crafts, and here she tells her personal relationship to one of them.

Read this blog , written in natural Japanese, and listen to and watch the video to learn more Japanese for free from the JOI online school team.

Satsuma Kiriko cut glass



satsuma kiriko





To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video. 



彼女(かのじょ)の話(はなし)によると、「薩摩切子(さつまきりこ)」は19世紀(せいき)ごろに「島津 斉彬(しまづ なりあきら)」という鹿児島(かごしま)のお殿様(とのさま)が海外交易品(かいがいこうえきひん)として作(つく)らせたそうです。そのため、外国人(がいこくじん)が好(この)むようにゴージャスなデザインになっているということでした。さらに、「薩摩切子(さつまきりこ)」は透明(とうめい)なクリスタルガラスに色(いろ)ガラスを一度(いちど)厚(あつ)く被(かぶ)せて、それから職人(しょくにん)が熟練(じゅくれん)した技(わざ)で微妙(びみょう)にカットの深(ふか)さを調整(ちょうせい)しながらグラデーションをいれていくのだそうです。『高価(こうか)で、ゴージャスなコップ』には、それなりの理由(りゆう)と、てまひまがかけられていたことを初(はじ)めて知(し)りました。


Satsuma Kiriko cut glass

In the city where I was born and raised, Kagoshima there is a traditional craft called Satsuma Kiriko. But I'd always looked at these Satsuma Kiriko as “merely expensive, gorgeous cups” and hence didn't have much interest in them until now. With this mentality, I became friends with a lady who actually made these Satsuma Kiriko and last month I went to view the workshop where she works.

According to her, Satsuma Kiriko was made around the 19th Century by Nariaki Shimazu who was a Kagoshima prince as goods to trade with foreign countries. So that is the reason why they were made using gorgeous designs that foreign people favored. Furthermore, Satsuma Kiriko are made by covering clear glass thickly with colored glass, then a craftsman using proficient skills delicately adjusts the depth of the cuts in order to create gradient colors. So I learned that the reason why these were such “expensive and gorgeous cups” was due to the time and effort put into them.

After the workshop tour, I went to sales gallery and looked at the different pieces. I was able to look at each piece from a different viewpoint than I had had until then, and I found myself thinking, “I'd love to have a Satsuma Kiriko glass”. But even saying that, they were really quite expensive and I thought to myself “I'd like to buy one as a reward to myself for becoming an adult”. Then I'd like to drink Japanese sake from that glass.

伝統工芸品/でんとうこうげいひん : Traditional crafts

高価な~ / こうかな~ : expensive~

被せる / かぶせる : to cover

熟練した技 / じゅくれんしたわざ :  proficient skills

てまひまをかける : to put a lot of time and effort into~ 

自分へのご褒美 / じぶんへのごほうび : reward myself , spoil myself


Hajimemashite, everyone. My name is Satomi Murahara I live in Kagoshima in Kyushu. An active volcano known as Sakura Jima, is the symbol of the town.

I have been teaching at Japanese language schools in Saipan and Kagoshima. While I was in Saipan, I got to find out about Polynesian dances and now I'm currently learning Tahitian dance. Recently I have become interested in Hula too. One day I'd like to go to Hawaii and Tahiti and dance under the azure sky looking out at the sea.

I love helping everyone to learn Japanese ! So in my class, don't be afraid to make mistakes, just continue to use Japanese. Talk as much as possible and ask me lots of questions. This is the shortcut to improving your language skills. I'm really looking forward to hearing about your experiences and have conversations in Japanese with you !

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