Research Note


I first encountered glass when I was 18 years old. The first time I ever saw glass melt at 1300 degrees, I felt I saw death. It reflected a world where life could not survive, like the molten interior of a volcano’s crater. However, once the red-hot glass cooled, it conveyed a completely different expression. As it changed into a mystical material that is both transparent and envelops light, as I witnessed the precise moment when the shape was created, I felt a sense of life within glass.


Glass Furnace / ガラス溶解炉

The origins always start by chance. A meteor impacted the Libyan desert, turning silica sand into glass. A traveler happening over that same ground found the glass and was fascinated by the existence of this material that held light. The Libyan glass was used for the Tutankhamen's chest decoration, and the evolution of the glass took place on Earth.

起源はいつも偶然から始まっているように思う。偶然、リビアの砂漠に隕石が衝突して、シリカ (砂漠) の砂がガラスに生まれ変わった。また、偶然、その地を歩いていた人間 (旅人) がそのガラスを拾い、光を内包するガラスの存在に心を奪われてしまった。そのリビアのガラスはツタンカーメン王の胸飾りに用いられ、その後、地球上でガラスの進化が起こる。

Pectoral with a Winged Scarab / 有翼スカラベ付き胸飾り
From TUTANKHAMUN catalog 2012/ ツタンカーメン展の図録2012使用(P.121)

The history of glass has converged with the development of our civilization. During the Roman Empire, glassmakers succeeded in producing completely transparent glass, accelerating the glass revolution. Glass was then polished into a thin disk, forever changing the ways in which we are able to observe the world around us. With the birth of the lens, people further embraced reading, and the printed word spread. The glass lens enabled the creation of microscopes and telescopes. With the inventions, we came to know of worlds, both great and small, which humans could not previously observe.


I myself could not live without glasses.

Despite such significant advances in civilization and technology, glass production still requires a large amount of energy. Even today, glass cannot be melted without continuing to burn the fossil fuel on earth.


Gas Furnace / ガス溶解炉

Uranium glass, which I frequently utilize, contains trace amounts of uranium. This makes the glass emit a beautiful fluorescent glow under ultraviolet light and other energy sources. Production of uranium glass began in Czechoslovakia around 1830 and spread to other parts of Europe, where products such as tableware and vases were made from uranium glass. However, uranium glass production all but ceased after uranium became a raw material used for atomic bombs and nuclear power generation. The high energy content of uranium has both positive and negative sides. The atomic bomb killed, maimed, and sickened tens of thousands of people. Even uranium’s use in the form of nuclear power generation has inflicted severe damage on humankind, as demonstrated by the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. It is also true, however, that many of us today benefit significantly from energy produced from uranium.


"The Beginning of the End of the World" / 《世界の終わりの始まり》
Gallery O2 in Kanazawa, Japan / Gallery O2(金沢)

I have been observing the Gifu Chō since 2016 when I moved to Toyama. The Luehdorfia Japonica is a small species of butterfly in the subfamily Parnassiinae of Papilionidae which is only found in Japan. The Gifu Chō, a primitive species hardly changed in appearance from ancient times, has long inhabited the Japanese archipelago and can be found only on Honshu Island. In the larval stage, they roam the land eating plants such as Asarum Nipponicum (Japanese wild ginger). Adults emerging from their cocoons appear during the early spring and fly around the low mountain ranges. The ancestors of the Gifu Chō are believed to have inhabited the region for over 30 million years and survived the Ice Age. They remain today, representing the cycles life and death since ancient times. Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, many Gifu Chō suddenly began losing their natural habitats due to the developments of the satoyama regions (interstitial spaces between arable flatland and mountain foothills) and the deterioration of vegetative environments. They are extinct in areas such as Tokyo and the Wakayama Prefecture.


Last Instar Larva of Luehdorfia Japonica / ギフチョウの終齢幼虫



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