Japanese Productive Regions for Kitchen Knives

Japan is well-known to be an advanced country in technology, including in the production of knives. Since the feudal era, Japan has developed “Katana”, a traditionally made Japanese sword that was used by samurai. Sword itself is known as a first industrial art object that possessed a brand name.

Sword making began in Japan after the manufacturing methods were imported to Japan through Mainland China and the Korean Peninsula. In Momoyama era, at the beginning swords were mainly manufactured at 5 regions in Japan (Soshu [Kanagawa], Bizen [Okayama], Yamato, [Nara], Yamagii [Kyoto], and Mino [Gifu]). As time went on, Japanese developed a new method with some improvements that grew up as Japanese original method. The current shape of Katana itself began to be manufactured since the Heian era.

Due to the issuance of Sword Abolishment Edict, swords were manufactured solely for military purpose after the Meiji era. It changed its status to Japanese traditional art object by licensed craftsmen after the Laws of Protection of Cultural Property was established following the end of World War II.

After the Sword Abolishment Edict took place, a lot of Katana craftsmen became blacksmiths producing farm implements and forged kitchen knives. This period broadly considered as the beginning of kitchen knives manufacture with Bizen (Fukui), Echigo (Niigata), Banshu Miki (Hyogo), Sakai (Osaka), and Tosa (Kochi) being the most famous regions of “forged knives” manufacturer.

Later by the end of the Showa era, the production of stainless kitchen knives have started since the manufacturing technique for making high quality stainless steel have been established. Stainless kitchen knives have many advantages compared to its predecessor. The price is reasonable, has less corrosion, easy to control for cutting, and many more. Once Japan had the technique to make “Tamahagane” or a type of good quality stainless material, stainless kitchen knives began to be mass produced and appeared on the market.

The skills that were practically being used in making kitchen knives apparently also utilised to produce table wares. For example, stainless kitchen knives handles are made with the developed technique of spoons and forks handles. Seki (Gifu) and Tsubame-Sanjyo (Niigata) have been known as a few of the production centres of pressed kitchen knives.

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