In 1923, Kyoichiro Tsuge, the founder of Tsuge Pipe Company, served his apprenticeship as pipe maker from when he was twelve. In July, 1936, at his age of 25, he established his own workshop to produce cigarette holders made of ivory. At that time, cigarette holders were essential for smoking because cigarettes without filters are popular. When World War II began, Kyoichiro went to war. Tsuge manufactured stock of gun making use of our full facilities at the request of the Japanese Government. In 1945, when war ended, Although Kyoichiro tried to restart his own business, ivory became hard to obtain.
1948, Tsuge family
However, two things ware happened and, which was a major turning point in our business; the Occupation Army released pipe tobacco in large amount in Japan. It was a great impact on people that Douglas MacArthur was out of plane at Atsugi Airport with corn-cob pipes. For the reason of this, pipe sold well. Tsuge decided to produce pipes instead of cigarette holders in response to the market great demand. The craftsmen who used to make grip of umbrella were employed to create pipes in Billiard and Bent Billiard using cherry wood. As the pipe production volume increased, a number of craftsmen were employed. Tsuge had 120 craftsmen at its peak. At that time, Tsuge was one of the mist stylish workplace in Japan; NHK, a radio station, was broadcasting popular show at our workshop. In the 1950s, Tsuge imported fine quality briar as pipe making material.
1936, Kyoichiro Tsuge (center left)
Kyoichiro had a talented ivory carver engrave pipe bowl using briar or ivory decorated with Japanese traditional motif: Mt. Fuji, Geisha, three monkeys, Tousyougu and so on. They were sold at Imperial Hotel Grand Hotel Yokohama and shops like PX and USO as souvenir for American army. In 1968, Vietnam War started, Tsuge exported a lot of pipes made of Japanese cherry wood to meet demands of American army in Saigon. In the 1970s, we produced our original freehand pipes and exported to Europe and the U.S.
Kyoichiro Tsuge, the founder of the company, was born into a craftsman family, which reflects his talent for managing business from the perspective of craftsman. His mother’s family had been running a legendary Japanese sword smith “Kanewaka” in the domain of Kaga since 16th century.
She was married to Kyoichiro’ s father whose ancestor was Samurai who was a chief retainer of a feudal lord, Maeda Family. Kyoichiro’ s mother was clever with her hands and she always made handicrafts for her family and neighbors. Kyoichiro remembers that she drew a beautiful painting of the impression of the play on papered sliding doors. His cousin was a famous Japanese modern painter, Kazumasa Nakagawa (1893-1991). Artistic temperament is also descended to Kyoichiro.
1936, Kyoichiro Tsuge is standing in front of his workshop.
When he was 12 years old, his parents died. He returned to Tokyo from Gyeong-seong (Seoul) and started working as resident apprentice to a maker manufacturing ivory pipe and cigarette holders. After he had worked as craftsman for thirteen years, he set up Tsuge Pipe Company. He said, “Making pipes and satisfying customers with our pipes is my great pleasure.” This becomes the principle for all our craftsmen.
Tsuge Ikebana P 204 03 24K Gold Cherrywood
Copyright © 2010 by TECON GmbH
with friendly support of TSUGE (Japan)