Sake cups made by Amanoshikki Co., a lacquer ware shop in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, with a history of more than 120 years, have proved to be a hot seller for their distinctive designs rooted in a local tradition.
The sake cups from the Golden Cup (Kaleidoscope) series mix glass and raden, a mother-of-pearl inlay technique developed in the city’s lacquer ware tradition. The company released the series in the summer of 2010.
The company hones naturally iridescent abalone shells into slices a mere 0.1 millimeter thick and delicately arranges them in polka-dot or floral designs, before placing them on the bottom of the cups and coating with lacquer. When sake is poured into the cups, the raden pieces on the bottom are reflected in the glasses, creating a kaleidoscope effect.
“These products are popular for those looking for gifts for special occasions,” President Takahisa Amano said.
The series was featured on TV last autumn, which triggered about 500 inquiries to the manufacturer, coming in from Hokkaido to Kyushu. Amanoshikki has also received an order to make products to mark the extended services of the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Those glasses feature an image of the brand-new W7 car on the bottom.
“Nobody would buy our products if they were just on display in a department store,” Amano said. “Customers can discover just how beautiful our cups are only after pouring water into them and admiring their kaleidoscopic gleam.”