Sabae Japan: Optical City

Sabae is a city on the Japan Sea in around the middle of the main island of Honshuu. It has about 69000 residents, of which around 5000 are directly employed in the business of making optical frames, lenses and associated machinery. We love Japanese frames because they really have a quality which is a cut above the rest. Last year we visited Sabae and had the fortune to meet some really interesting people. Below is a picture of Mr Nishino, who still makes frames by hand and has been doing so for the best part of 50 years. We love and appreciate this traditional craftsmanship which still persists throughout Japan.

Mr Nishino making frames the traditional Japanese way

Note the heavy timber table that he is sitting crosslegged at. It is very old and originally there would have been four craftsmen sitting there (two on each side). Note also the wire brush stuck under the timber rest so that he can constantly unclog his file. I’m really glad I’ve seen this as it might not last much longer! I’m going to post some more about Sabae and optical frames from Japan so look out for it if you’re interested!

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