Handmade in Japan
Seki is the center of the cutlery industry in Japan. Located in the northern Mino region, today it has over 600 companies involved in the production of knives, representing about 40% of the companies in the city. Its history can be traced back to the 13th century, when feudal rule was being established in Japan.
According to legend, a master sword-maker by the name of Motoshige discovered in the region ideal conditions for tempering steel: high-quality ore and pine charcoal as well as an abundance of pure water. Over the centuries since then the master sword-makers of Seki have vied with one another for the honor of producing swords so perfect that they would bear comparison with works of art.
Subsequently, as the age of feudal warlords came to an end, they made themselves over into blacksmiths to produce blades suitable for domestic and agricultural use.
In the second half of the 19th century western knives and scissors were introduced to Japan and the people of Seki embarked upon the development of new types of products for new markets.
Swordsmithery in Seki
From the 13th century when the legendary founder and pioneer Motoshige first began making swords in Seki, they were much appreciated throughout Japan. Warlords praised them highly, as we may gather from the old saying: "They neither break nor bend and cut marvelously well."
Even today the swordsmiths of Seki carry on this 700-year tradition. Some of them say that the flame is the most important element in producing a blade. They say that its color or appearance teaches them everything they need to know, from the state of the steel to the precise moment when the bellows must be brought into play. The flame is their master and friend, and through it they remain in touch with the spirit and art of their predecessors.