Reflecting Okinawa’s cultural landscape, Ryukyu glassware boasts extremely unique designs and vivid colors that remind one of the island’s natural beauties. Including tableware for everyday use and smaller items ideal for souvenirs, various kinds of Ryukyu glass products are available. Their formal tableware is perfect for special occasions.
Up until the end of World War II, Okinawan glass production consisted mostly of everyday items. However, after war, large quantities of soft drink bottles discarded by American forces on Okinawa were remade into glasses by local craftsmen. The Americans appreciated the alluring handmade glass, and after the reversion of Okinawa to Japan, Ryukyu glass gained in popularity as souvenirs for tourists and has become a familiar Okinawan craft. Since then, glass-making artisans have created a new style of glassware with their constantly evolving, innovative ideas.
The glassware is being improved through intensive research and development, expansion of its variety of uses and the introduction of new materials to create unique designs and colors. Although it is relatively thick and unevenly formed, Ryukyu glassware is eminently practical, while mainland glass is evenly shaped but not practical for daily use. The vivid colors and unique designs are popular with tourists.