The Art of Craftsmanship
MASUNAGA OPTICAL ranges among Japan’s largest and most eminent eyewear manufacturers. With a history going back to the year 1905, the company played a major part in establishing the Fukui prefecture in the western part of the main Honshu island as a hotbed of eyewear manufacturing. Japanese craftsmanship is highly regarded around the world and a large number of international companies are relying on Japan to manufacture their high-end eyewear.
MASUNAGA still values manual craftsmanship in its production process and handles all manufacturing strictly in-house. In the bigger picture, the traditional company is driven by long-term goals rather than short-term profits, as explained by Mr. Yasunori Masunaga in our interview.
Mr. Masunaga, how many family generations have been leading the company at this point?
This is the fifth generation. MASUNAGA OPTICAL premiered the production of eyeglasses in Fukui in June 1905. The company founder Gozaemon Masunaga brought in skilled craftsmen from Osaka and Tokyo with the ambition of establishing the optical industry solidly in Fukui.
Was it difficult at the time?
He entered into the industry the hard way. At first, eyeglasses manufactured in Fukui were regarded to be third-rate in the world. In order to raise the quality standards of the products, Gozaemon established a guild-like system where full-fledged craftsmen could create their own businesses. Thanks to this system, the number of eyeglass craftsmen increased gradually, and the optical trade spread all over Fukui. Fukui is still famous for eyewear today. MASUNAGA has played a major part with over one hundred years of tradition.
What’s the secret for a brand to survive for so long?
MASUNAGA craftsmanship is applied consistently throughout every stage of our manufacturing process. In this era of mass production, outsourcing and cost reduction, MASUNAGA has chosen to mainly continue our hands-on creation processes.
(Continue reading the interview in the latest Spectr Magazine issue)
More about Masunaga1905 on spectr-magazine.com
Thanks to Spectr Magazine for the opportunity to post this interview, Portrait by Stefan Mongus and stills by Raphael Schmitz.