Sakaiuchi Knifes

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Sakaiuchi has a 90% share of the production of all culinary knives used by professional chefs in Japan. Along with the increased popularity of Japanese cuisine, Japanese culinary tools and equipments are now also getting more attention. The Sakaiuchi Knife, which is known to maximize the qualities and flavors of ingredients, could be the one that master chefs overseas try to add to their culinary tools.

It is said that the knife was man’s first tool.  In fact, the discovery of stone knives led to the realization people had already formed a village in the first century around the same area where the Sakaiuchi Knife is made today.   Nintokugoryou, the largest tomb in Japan, is situated on the hillside of the eastern part of Sakai. Many workers required tools to build it. As a result, various tools such as ploughs and sickles were developed and craftsmen who made them started to form a village in the area.

In 1543, Sakai was known as the Venice of Orient, and the Portuguese brought guns to the city.  Sakai produced guns during the latter part of the medieval era of the Warring States in the late 16th century.  At the same time, they also made a tool for cutting tobacco that was also brought by the Portuguese. The quality and price was far superior to the imported one. Therefore, it was stamped as a Product of the Edo Shogunate and sold throughout Japan from the 17th to 19th century. Furthermore, toward the end of the 17th century, Sakai began selling Deppa knives that were used to cut the hard fish meat and food. Since then, blacksmiths of Sakai have devoted themselves to making the best knives, creating real pieces of art in the process. The Sakaiuchi Knife was registered as one of the Traditional Crafts of Japan in 1987.

The makers are also very active in expanding their business to overseas. For example, they participate in event shows in NY where the audience cheers as they watch a daikon (Japanese white radish) be peeled thinner than tissue paper!

Sakaiuchi knives are made with the best material available and by the highest skilled blacksmith, so they do not come cheap. But it is said that once you use one, you will become unable to go back to your old one. The ability to cut precisely and improve the quality of your dishes is quite mesmerizing!

 

Photo by Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center

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