Masunaga is a Japanese Company with a very important history starting in 1905 in Fukui. Could you please tell us about the beginning and about the most important moments of your route?
Masunaga Optical premiered the production of eyeglasses in Fukui in 1905. The company founder Gozaemon Masunaga brought in skilled
craftsmen from Osaka and Tokyo with the ambition of setting the optical industry solidly in place in Fukui.
He entered into the industry the hard way and, at first, the 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. Owing to this system, the number of
eyeglass craftsmen increased gradually and the optical industry spread all over Fukui.
There are as many as 200 manual processes involved in making an optical frame. Generally, productivity is low when one company is in
charge of all the processes. However, Masunaga Optical is the only company in Japan that has a factory in charge of all processes from
raw materials to production and finish in an integrated way. The integrated production system improves detail and quality.
Then, in 1933, a gold frame was presented to our emperor in Japan. This is a signature frame from Masunaga brand. Similarly, in 1970,
at the World Expo held at Osaka one of our iconic eyewear was chosen to be placed in a time capsule. This was another signature of the Masunaga brand.
Currently, with vintage frames being popular, we recreate eyewear
using our archived designs, combining it with contemporary tastes using new technology material.
Each of your models reveals a maniacal research for quality and details, which is the mission your research is based on?
The company’s mission statement since the establishment is “We manufacture excellent eyeglasses. We want to make a profit if we
can, but we don’t hesitate to take a loss. It is always in our thoughts to manufacture excellent eyeglasses.” These words are still the basis of
the conduct code of employees even more than 100 years after its establishment.
For example, when Masunaga Optical develops a new model, the molds are always built inhouse. If there is a problem in the wear comfort that can be felt only after completing one pair of glasses, it will be corrected in the previous process promptly.
The market is giving you a great acknowledgement, which is your challenge for the future?
Yes, great acknowledgement comes with great challenge. We will continue to design and produce remarkable products to lead theacross the world. Our main objective is to produce our products with remarkable design using MASUNAGA quality.
You are licensee for such a brand as Kenzo, which is your relationship with ‘griffe’ and fashion in general?
First of all, please let me explain that we are not the licensee brand for Kenzo. Mister Kenzo Takada is our partner and we are making collaboration products as “MASUNAGA designed by Kenzo Takada”. Mister Kenzo Takada is a prestigious designer in the fashion world.
See the LYF hard copy for the full interview.