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Kamei America Group, Erich Suto marked black glass vase with red stripes

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Japanese Art Glass78 of 131Iwata white foam glass ashtray with gold foil inclusionsKamei Glass Osaka aventurine cobalt vase
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    Posted 2 years ago

    (834 items)

    This vase is 7" in diameter and 6.5" high. It is quite light in weight, but I have not weighed it yet. It is quite dirty in the images shown, I hadn't cleaned it yet. Due to all of the very interesting labels on the bottom, I had to clean it with rubbing alcohol. Better (I hope) images coming. This vase was originally offered for $60 at Jordan Marsh, a high end department store, as shown by the two price tags. It was marked down twice, to $49.99 and $44.99. Still a chunk of change for the time, probably the mid 1980s. I have not yet identified which Japanese glass house made this vase.

    The labels helped me to discover a great deal about the Kamei America Group, AKA Kamei Studios. I will be writing an in depth article about this for my Japanese art collection web site. Short story, Erich Suto, despite his Japanese sounding name, was born in New Jersey of Hungarian descent. In mid 1980s he incorporated and became CEO of two companies based in California, one of which was Kamei Studios. Apparently, he was importing art glass from Japan for sale at high end department stores. He, or a surrogate, often signed the glass with his name or with an acid etched copy of his signature. I have not been able to determine if Mr. Suto had any role in designing the glass but, since he lived in the U. S. of A., he obviously had no role in making the glass, which labels show was "Made in Japan".

    Labels for Kamei Studios/Kamei America Group use a black and white version of the Kamei Group Osaka label, but I do not know if the two companies were affiliated. The Kamei mark used by both companies does not seem to have been trademarked. I am still investigating this. My suspicion is that the Japanese logo was "appropriated" by the American company. Unfortunately, I have discovered that Mr. Suto is deceased.

    I have found several styles of this vase some with red striping and some with white striping. I have been told that other colors of striping may have been used, but I have not yet found any examples. This is definitely production glass. The big takeaway is that glass with the Kamei Studios/Kamei Group America labels was imported into the U.S. after the mid 1980s, probably after mid 1984 and is production glass made by a Japanese glass house. Whether that also indicates that this glass was made at, or after that date, is still being researched, but seems to be a logical conclusion.

    I will update this post with information about my article once is it completed. I am doing a major revision of my Japanese art glass web site, since apparently there is no cure for my Japanese art glass addiction. Sigh.

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    1. Ms.CrystalShip Ms.CrystalShip, 2 years ago
      Love the red lines against the black!
      Has a classic look to it... beautiful!
    2. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      @Ms.CrystalShip - Thanks for your comment, Eileen! It is sure different. I hope I can figure out who made it!

      Thanks for loving in my Kamei America vase blunderbuss2, Eileen and MALKEY!
    3. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks bobby725!
    4. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks fortapache!
    5. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for loving my Kamei America vase Thomas, aura, PhilDMorris and Jenni!
    6. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for taking the time to look at my Japanese bowl Elisabethan!
    7. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for taking a look at and loving my Japanese vase iggy!
    8. racer4four racer4four, 2 years ago
      Awesome vase and research Kevin!
    9. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks Karen! I am still chipping away at Kamei America.... Not heard from Erich Suto's family, yet...

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