Honing Their Skills at 120-year-old 'Fukagawa Glass'
Honing Their Skills at 120-year-old 'Fukagawa Glass'
Copied to Clipboard
Glass tableware used in homes and restaurants is a common sight. However, despite its ubiquitous presence, few people may consider the processes behind its creation.
There are various methods to craft glass products. At 'Fukagawa Glass' in Otaru City, Hokkaido, their craftsmen utilize the traditional method called 'blown glass' to manufacture their goods.
Recently, we conducted an interview with Kenta Deguchi, the 6th-generation president of the company, to learn about their founding history, progression to date, and the types of glass products they produce.
Kenta Deguchi
Kenta Deguchi

September 1990. Born in Koto Ward, Tokyo
2003. Enrolled in a boarding school in Nasu Kogen, Tochigi Prefecture, following elementary school graduation and spent six years there.
2009. Returned to his hometown in Tokyo to attend university.
2013. After various life experiences, including studying abroad, entered the food & beverage industry.
2015. Moved to Otaru to take over the family business.
2018. Became the company president at the age of 28, following his father's illness.
Presently continuing his role.

Starting in Fukagawa and Moving to Otaru for a Fresh Start

Please tell us about the founding history of Fukagawa Glass and its journey up to today.
Our company was established in 1906. Our founding history began when my great-grandfather's mentor, Yukimasa Ida, set up a factory in the Fukagawa district (now Sumiyoshi area) of Tokyo. Back then, we were commissioned by the national government to produce jars for storing salt and medicines.

Though the factory gradually expanded, it was entirely destroyed during the Great Kanto Earthquake. We reconstructed it, but since jars started to become machine-manufacturable, their sales declined over time.

As a result, from around the middle of the Showa period (1926-1989), our company shifted to the manufacture of tableware. Initially, we only manufactured products like business-use cups, as these were affordable. However, we also wanted to produce special glasses with a distinct feel, so we began honing various skills.

A continuation of our high-end dining ware production went on until the Heisei period (1989-2019). However, in 2003, we faced issues related to the aging of our Tokyo factory. While the factory was initially surrounded by other factories, more residential homes had been built around it by that time, making it difficult to rebuild the factory in the same location.

That led to discussions about relocating to Otaru. The idea came up during a conversation between my father and the president of Kitaichi Glass in Otaru, with whom we had a long-standing relationship. By relocating to Otaru, not only would it facilitate communication due to the proximity but also make product transportation more convenient. Therefore, the decision to move was made based on these factors.

Were there any changes following the relocation?
Prior to the move, our company had about 40 employees, but that number was cut in half.

However, seeing this as an opportunity during the factory reconstruction, my father reviewed our facilities. The current factory reuses the water in the underground tanks and uses the heat generated from running the factory to circulate warmth in the winter. Even before the concept of SDGs gained popularity, we have always strived to run our business considering both people and the planet's future.
1 / 4 pages
Share Article
Copied to Clipboard