Masunaga Glasses: The Finest in Japanese Eyewear
Founded in 1905, Masunaga is one of the oldest eyewear brands in the world. The secret to its longevity? The finest Japanese craftsmanship.
I discovered Masunaga’s collection at the world’s largest eyewear trade fair – MIDO – back in February, and as always, instantly impressed by its timeless simplicity. Classic shapes, clean lines and premium materials characterise the frames. The finish is immaculate.
During its illustrious past, Masunaga has crafted eyewear for emperors, foreign dignitaries and even time travellers – with Masunaga frames chosen for the Osaka Expo Time Capsule in 1970. Today, it is one of the most revered eyewear brands on the planet and OPTIX Opticians at Broadgate proudly stocks one of the largest ranges of Masunaga eyewear in London.
Masunaga’s century-old heritage is compelling and is reflected in their modern-day collection. The brand was established in Japan’s Fukui region in 1905 by eyewear pioneer Gozaemon Masunaga. It took just six years for Masunaga eyewear to be recognised for manufacturing excellence when it won a Gold Medal at Japan’s National Manufacturing Trade Exhibition – the first of hundreds of design accolades to come.
But Fukui was still an inconsequential region more known for its fishing than its factories, and the talent pool was inadequate. So, driven by a relentless pursuit of exceptional quality, Gozaemon brought in highly skilled artisans from Osaka and Tokyo and established a guild system whereby craftspeople could forge their own businesses. This revolutionary initiative spearheaded a transformation across the region and gave rise to a world-class optics industry. Today, the Fukui region manufactures 97% of Japanese-made optical frames. This makes it the third biggest producer of eyewear in the world, of which, the family-run Masunaga brand remains the cornerstone.
The quality of Masunaga glasses is unparalleled. Every component is crafted and assembled by hand, using only the finest high-grade pure titanium and hand polished Japanese acetate. Masunaga is one of the only factories in the world to manage all 200 manual processes in the eyewear-manufacturing pipeline – from handling raw materials to ensuring the perfect finish.
Indeed, from its origin the brand has always prioritised meticulous quality standards over commercial efficiency, resulting in frames prized for their detail and durability. “We want to make a profit if we can,” the company’s mission statement reads, “but we don’t hesitate to take a loss. It is always in our thoughts to manufacture excellent eyeglasses.”
Masunaga’s 2019 collection is stripped down, revolving around a few simple, yet perfectly balanced designs. This capsule collection features strikingly minimalist glasses and sunglasses engineered for absolute comfort and effortless style.
We’ve picked out a few of our favourites from our Masunaga London collection –