May 04, 2004

My devotion to stained glass -3

I sometimes think about the history of stained glass in Japan.
We know from books that stained glass was first introduced into Japan during the Meiji Era (19th century).
It was started by a group under Mr. Sawano in western Japan (the Kansai Area), and Mr. Michi Ogawa in the east (Tokyo).

The technique had long been kept secret inside closed workshops where artists maintained a strict apprenticeship system.
Why has stained glass become so popular among Japanese people that they could learn the necessary skills in open classes, as is done today?
To my surprise nothing has been written or said about this phenomenon.

It is certain that something dramatic, such as the collapse of the Berlin Wall, happened at some point in the Japanese stained glass world.
Am I the only person who wants to know what exactly happened?
There are thousands of people learning stained glass today, and the number of people who don't know the genesis of stained glass education is on the increase.
Am I the only one who thinks we, (stained glass artists), are responsible for discovering the truth about it and proclaiming it to others?

Here is a clue.
A wave of new stained glass began in Nagoya 30 years ago, at a time when only limited kinds of glass were available from limited sources.
People searched for ways to obtain glass more easily and finally found a way to import glass directly from the U.S. They later found it came from one individual stained grass studio.
I can easily imagine how difficult it was to get glass in those days.
This doesn't happen today and even amuses us to think about.

Such a small step led the way to establish widespread stained glass classes.
What happened 30 years ago was very significant and has greatly changed the history of stained glass in Japan.

Posted by TT at May 4, 2004 11:16 PM