Making Kiseru Tobacco Pipes with KISERU-YA 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 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.