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Attracting attention from around the globe ”Masunaga Optical Manufacturing”

Attracting attention from around the globe
”Masunaga Optical Manufacturing”

DATA
Masunaga Optical Mfg Co., Ltd.
4-15 Imaichi-cho Fukui-shi, Fukui
http://www.masunaga-opt.co.jp/

Industry that is the pride of Fukui

Fukui is one of the world’s three major production center for eyeglass frames. Domestically, more than 90% of eyeglass frames are produced in Fukui. In terms of metal frames, Fukui is the world’s largest producer.
The history of glass frame manufacturing in Fukui is longer than one might imagine. It dates back more than 100 years to 1905, when Gozaemon Masunaga gathered eyeglass craftsmen from Osaka and Tokyo and nurtured many skilled technicians under a guild-like system called ”choba”.
Gozaemon Masunaga is the founder of ”Masunaga Optical Manufacturing”, the company that Nakata visited. The founder trained many technicians who subsequently became independent, and started their own studios. This led to the prosperity of the eyeglass industry in Fukui.

Countless popular frames

If the name ”Masunaga” seems familiar, you are definitely a fashion connoisseur. ”Masunaga Optical Manufacturing” is a top-notch brand. It has stores in Tokyo and Nagoya, and is covered in fashion magazines. The company has expanded globally into countries such as the United States and China.

Among the products of Masunaga Optical Manufacturing, the MP series stands out in particular. The series is a product of a collaboration with Kazuo Kawasaki, an international industrial designer and professor at Osaka University Graduate School.
The MP series is worn by many of the world’s top leaders and celebrities such as Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State; Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defense; Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California; Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska and the first female, Republican vice presidential nominee; Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Bae Yong-joon.

Uncompromising pursuit

Kazuo Kawasaki was born in Fukui in 1949. At age 28 when he was enjoying a successful career as a designer, he was involved in a traffic accident, confining him to a wheelchair. Following his accident, he moved his activities to Fukui and met Satoru Masunaga, president of Masunaga Optical Manufacturing.
They hit it off, teamed up, and began their pursuit of making the world’s #1 eyeglasses. Suffering from a heart condition, he also acquired a medical degree at 47, and began researching design for artificial hearts. He is definitely a very unique presence as a designer. In 2000, Kawasaki won the Grand Prix in the sunglass division of SILMO Paris in France, the most prestigious award in the eyeglass industry.
His uncompromising pursuit and commitment may have helped him overcome the many adversities he faced, allowing him to develop eyeglasses which have attracted attention from around the world.

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