The Toyo-Sasaki Glass production facility is in Yachiyo, which is located in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo. They make both hand-made and machine produced items including tableware, glassware and custom designs.
The 2002 merger of Toyo Glass and Sasaki Glass bought together two Japanese glass making powerhouses, both tracing their roots back to the beginning of the industry.
On the Toyo side life began in 1878, when Magoichi Shimada started his career as a trainee in the Shinagawa Glassworks that had been established by the Meiji government to pioneer Japan's domestic glassware industry. It had a troubled history with many failures and reinventions, but it was a valuable training ground for many successful entrepreneurs. In his time there Shimada studied under Brit James Speed - one of the influential British and Venetian craftsmen brought to the country to help. A decade later he founded Shimada Glass in the village of Kawasaki, Osaka. Using the latest European glassblowing techniques, the company produced glass tableware and lamps.
Sasaki Glass was a bit later to the party. Their founder Sojiro Sasaki was originally a retailer who set up his own glass shop in Kanda, Tokyo in 1902. He built his business on wholesaling oil lamps, a major product at the dawn of Japan's domestic glass industry. In the following year, Sasaki's glass shop began to export lamps to Hawaii, China, and Southeast Asia. The company also expanded its sales channels and created a nationwide wholesale network in Japan. Around 1917 he started his own factory and continual innovation and importing of the latest technologies kept Sasaki at the forefront of manufacturing techniques in Japan.
This led to the 1967 introduction of the now famous HS rim-toughened glassware that is a favourite for the hospitality and food service industries because of their simple elegance and hardwearing robustness. In 2007, total sales of HS products were over 700 million.