Tokyo: Revived Showa Era Glasses a Hit with Young People

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Aderia Retro glasses are more user-friendly while strictly keeping to the designs of Aderia glasses in the Showa era.

In the Showa era (1926-1989), glasses patterned with flowers, fruits or animals would often appear on dining tables. Now, the revived version of the then popular glass brand Aderia is gaining in popularity with young people who are attracted by the pop and retro appearance.

The reproduced “Aderia Retro” glasses are made by Ishizuka Glass Co., in Iwakura, Aichi Prefecture. I visited a trade only showroom at the company’s Tokyo branch in Koto Ward, Tokyo.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Glasses with colorful patterns such as flowers and animals are displayed in the showroom.

Various glasses with a range of colors were lined up on a display table, as if they were competing over how much they could shine. There were dessert glasses with legs that would make puddings and fruits taste even better, and glasses with cute round bases that could be used for both drinks and parfaits. Storage glass bottles that can be used to make umeshu (Japanese plum liqueur) were also featured. Even a single Aderia Retro glass on the dining table would make me feel good. As someone with no memory of the Showa days, I was inspired by my first look at glasses with patterns of flowers and balloons.

The original Aderia brand was conceived in 1961 when Japan was in a period of high economic growth. As people’s lifestyles shifted from Japanese to Western, those colorfully-printed glasses were preferred by many households due to their familiar image and reasonable prices. However, the “bubble economy” period saw consumers opt for higher-end products, and production of Aderia glasses came to an end in the 1980s.

About 30 years later, three young female employees including designer Hikaru Sugimoto, 34, initiated the idea of reviving the Aderia glass designs. They realized that the Showa-era designs were popular on Instagram and other social media, but no actual Aderia glasses or design sketches remained. For that, they visited vintage stores and searched for people who owned Aderia glasses from that period.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Vintage glasses produced and sold in the Showa era

Their efforts led them to the launch of the Aderia Retro brand in November 2018. Now, more than 70 types of Aderia Retro glasses have been released and are available online as well as at some brick-and-mortar shops. By May 2023, about 1.35 million glasses had been sold.

Why are they so popular now?

“The revived Aderia glassware recreates the simple prints and even paint smudges of the original ones. I guess people feel close and familiar to them just because they are not perfect,” Sugimoto said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hikaru Sugimoto talks about the attractiveness of Aderia Retro glasses.
The Yomiuri Shimbun

Aderia Retro

Memo: Aderia Retro glasses are available at the official online shop, the “TokiiRo” shop selling watches, clocks and stationery in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, and der Koffer, a cafe in Sumida Ward, Tokyo.

Photographing location: Aderia Retro Tokyo Showroom 2-2-20 Toyo, Koto Ward, Tokyo