Japanese Kitchen Knives Productive District

Japan is one of the most developed countries for knives as we can see “Katana”. It is said that Sword is a first industrial art object which had Brand Name in our history.
In Momoyama era, they were mainly manufactured at 5 regions in Japan (Bizen [Okayama], Soshu [Kanagawa], Yamagii [Kyoto], Yamato [Nara] and Mino [Gifu]).
The manufacturing methods of sword were imported through Main Land China and the Korean Peninsula after that period, and then the methods were adapted, grew up as Japanese original skills with improvements. By the Heian era, the shape of Japanese sword “Katana” became just like present looking.

After the Meiji era, swords were manufactured only for the military purpose because Sword Abolishment Edict had issued. However, establishment of Laws for Protection of Cultual.Property after the World War II, they are being manufactured for enthusiast of swords as Japanese traditional art object by licensed craftsmen.
After the issue of Sword Abolishment Edit, many Katana craftsmen became Blacksmiths making forged kitchen knives or farm implements. They sometimes initiated the skills to farmers, which may be considered the beginning of manufacturing kitchen knives. Famous regions of “Forged Knives” in Japan are “Echigo (Niigata)”,”Bizen (Fukui)”,”Sakai (Osaka)”,”Banshu Miki (Hyogo)” and “Tosa(Kochi)”.

In the latter period of Showa era, manufacturing technique for making high quality stainless steel have established and production of stainless kitchen knives have started as well. Stainless kitchen knives that have many advantages (reasonable, less corrosion and easy to control for cutting etc.) appeared on the market after that. This is just because we could have industrial technique to make such a good stainless material that is equal to the “Tamahagane” and this fact made mass production possible.

Tsubame city (Niigata), our area, also has been well known as one of the biggest production centers of table wares for a long time and the skills were practically being used in making kitchen knives. The technique of making stainless handles of kitchen knives is based on the skills of craftsmen completed after repeated trial and error for making handles of spoons and forks. “Tsubame-Sanjyo (Niigata)” and “Seki (Gifu)” regions are also one of the biggest production center of pressed kitchen knives.