Palin's glasses a fashion hit

TOKYO — The Japanese designer of the clear-rim glasses worn by Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is grateful for the attention she is drawing to his creation, but he remains politically neutral.

"She is very good-looking. She would look good in any glasses," Kazuo Kawasaki said Wednesday while visiting a Tokyo store for Masunaga Optical Manufacturing Co., which makes the glasses.

The clear-rim MP-704 glasses, made of super-light and non-allergenic metal called titanium, have become all the rage from their high-profile visibility atop the Alaska governor's nose.

Masunaga Optical Manufacturing, based in Fukui, usually makes 12,000 MP-704 glasses in a year and a half. Thanks to Palin, 44, it has already received 9,000 global orders, mostly from the United States in the last 10 days, says Masunaga store chief Akira Nagayama.

The glasses don't need screws, instead using a thin metal strip similar to a paper clip to attach the lens to the frame, offering a clearer view for the wearer, Nagayama says.

Masunaga, which racks up $19 million in annual sales, including glasses from other designers, sells Kawasaki's MP-704 in the United States through Italee Optics Inc., a Los Angeles distributor. They cost about $400 in the United States.