Making Kiseru Tobacco Pipes with KISERU-YA NOBORU


Live demonstration by Japanese smoking pipe maker Kiseruya Noboru

Kiseru are Japanese tobacco pipes. Often decoratively carved they were once an important fashion accessory for men during the Edo and Meiji periods in Japan. By 1930 Tsubame-Sanjo had become Japan’s top producer of kiseru; however, as demand shifted from kiseru to paper cigarettes after WWII, kiseru production declined.

Visitors to Japan House will be able to gain a rare insight into the age-old art of kiseru pipe making with a demonstration by the last craftsman producing handmade metal kiseru in Tsubame-Sanjo today, Iizuka Noboru from the workshop Kiseru-ya Noboru.

About the Makers:

Iizuka Noboru 

See demonstration by Japanese smoking pipe maker Kiseruya Noboru at BIOLOGY OF METAL exhibition at Japan House London until 28 Oct 2018

Iizuka Noboru was born into a family of kiseru tobacco pipe craftsmen in 1934. He began working as a kiseru maker at age 15, but changed jobs in the 1970s. After turning 60, Iizuka returned to kiseru making and started up his own workshop under the name ‘Kiseru-ya Noboru’. Aged 83 he is the only craftsperson still producing handmade kiseru pipes in Tsubame-Sanjo today.