Ryukyu Glass Craftsman Seiichiro Inamine ”Ryukyu Glass Workshop   Kizuna”

Ryukyu Glass Craftsman Seiichiro Inamine
”Ryukyu Glass Workshop Kizuna”

Cool refreshing look of foam glass

Ryukyu glass is glass craft made of blown glass, largely produced in the main island of Okinawa. It originally began from melting and reusing bottles discarded by the US military after World War Ⅱ. In the old days, glass with bubbles, which happens when labels or dust particles on the bottles change form and become bubbles, were regarded as failures. But nowadays, new types of glass, which uses bubbles as design, are being produced. Bubbles inside the glass are beautiful, and this very ”Okinawa-like” glass gives a cool, refreshing impression, making it very popular as souvenirs and gifts.

Ryukyu Glass Workshop Kizuna

Nakata visited Seiichiro Inamine’s workshop, ”Ryukyu Glass Workshop Kizuna”. His father is a glass craftsman who originally created crafts with glass with bubbles. In the past, he was awarded the title of Contemporary Master Craftsman. The father and son have been producing foam glass crafts together. Seiichiro-san is working on developing new techniques for foam glass, and has succeeded in producing products which make the most of the natural color of the original bottle. He also succeeded in putting green and blue colored bubbles in the glass. Not only that, he is spreading his imagination and developing new ways of expression, like ”Domon Glass ” with coral soil applied to it, and glass using Ice Cut skill to produce small crack-like patterns.

In red-hot melting pot

Inamine specially showed us the production process. You could feel the heat just by standing in front of the red-hot melting pot, which reaches temperatures of 1300 to 1500 degrees. First, air is blown into the glass, and then it is formed into a shape. After that is the process of adding the bubble, the characteristic of Ryukyu glass. It is done by winding the top bubbly layer of the melted glass to the glass made in the first process. Glass stretches like hot wax, and by layering colored glass, design is formed. Glass does not attach identically, making each design unique and adding a taste of its own. Next step is spreading the mouth of the glass. It is difficult for amateurs to turn the glass, but the true craftsman can do so quickly while the glass is hot. Finally, after baking the base of the glass, it is cooled for 8 hours and the glass is finished.

”Expression of bubble glass is interesting. I can’t predict how it will turn out until I wind the bubbly layer to the glass. There are no two same items.” Inamine told us the charm of Ryukyu glass.


Ryukyu Glass Workshop Kizuna
2463 Yonabaru, Yonabaru-cho, Shimajiri - gun, Okinawa Prefecture