Founder of Nemoto Glass Crafts.
The beginning of a beloved national craft of Japan Edo-Kiriko, or Edo (old-day Tokyo) cut-glass takes us back two-centuries to the early 1800's. It is said that Kyubei Kagaya, who made a living processing glass products first introduced the term.
This fine technique of incising glass products is a prime example where "East meets West", as the importation of mechanical technologies from Europe not only contributed to productivity, but also empowered the expression of esthetical craftsmanship. Behind the fascination, lies the family of Nemoto Glass Crafts., whom protected the culture from wars and the many natural disasters during the 19th century. Continuing to create for over three generations, the family heritage is today an iconic brand that carry on the same tradition through classical and modern approaches. Here starts of the story of Yukio, in memory of his foundation of the Edo-Kiriko culture, finally to be known as "Contemporary Master Craftsman" of Japan.
Tokyo after the second world war
Born in 1936, Yukio Nemoto experienced the Tokyo air raid at the age of 8. At the age of 13, he began his career as a faceting craftsman under the tutelage of Tokuzo Tamura, a disciple of Kyubei Kagaya.
At the age of 23, he established Nemoto Glass Kogei, and became one of the few craftsmen who maintained the traditions of Edo during the Industrial Revolution.
"Eight masks" Color coated vase
Culture and innovation
During his career, Yukio was the first to introduce an electric powered sharpening machine in Japan, making renovating changes to the production system that once relied on unstable sources such as water and human for power. He has also contributed to the evolution and inheritance of Kiriko culture nationwide, spending years to research, recreate a lost culture of southern Japan - Satsuma Kiriko.
In 1996, Kiriko made by Yukio was presented to the summit meeting between Japan and South Korea, which played a role in strengthening diplomatic relations between the two countries. As one of Japan's leading artists and Kiriko craftsmen, Yukio received many awards including the prestigious Medal of Yellow Ribbon - the equivalence to human treasure, and continued to make Kiriko until his later years.
Kiriko decanter and wine glass created by Yukio, for the international summit between Japan and South Korea
As an artist, Yukio continued to pursue the beauty within. Drawing out the possibilities of colors and materials to the utmost limit through his experience as a master craftsman, he expresses the spirit and pride of Japan. Through thousands, if not tens of thousands of instinct-driven cuts, life is given to the crystal. His masterpiece "Melancholy" took three full years to complete, and appeals to viewers with details unattainable by ordinary trait of process, leaving his obsession as form of beauty.
Masterpiece - Melancholy