History of Cutlery Made in Sakai, Japan
The Japanese knives has approximately 600 years of histories.
The technique to make the knives are handed down from artisan to artisan. Until know, high quality Japanese knives are made by artisans by hand, and its quality easily exceeds knives made by machines.
Sakai is the most famous place for making traditional Japanese knives. More than 90% of professional chefs uses knives made in Sakai because of its highest quality.
The origin of the cutlery made in Sakai goes back to the 16th century when guns were first introduced to Japan from Portugal. It is recorded that Sakai had great output of production in the era. There were a lot of factories to produce guns, and they have accumulated and improved technologies of forging.
There is a town named Teppo-cho (meaning “the town of gun”) in Sakai city.
It is said that there were more than 30 gun factories in Sakai at its peak in Edo era (1603-1868 A.D.)
In fact, however, there was no war in that era. So, the guns produced in that era was more for ornaments than for arms.
As time passes, the main industry of the city had changed from guns to tobacco.
The gun factories also changed their products from guns to tobacco knives to make use of their forging skills. Their forging skills were high quality enough to be certified by the central government in Edo (current Tokyo).
In the end of Edo era (19th centuries), demand of tobacco knives decreased due to the industrialization of tobacco production.
Therefore, artisans who have make tobacco knives converted their skills to make kitchen knives, which was start of production of Japanese knives made in Sakai.