History of Sakai blades

The history of Sakai blades goes back to the construction of Nintoku’s Emperor  mausoleum, which is the world’s largest burial mound built around the 5th century.

With a maximum length of 840m and maximum width of 654m, it took more than 15 years to build.

At that time, a large amount of plows and hoes were needed for plowing the soil and digging holes. Blacksmiths gathered from all over Japan and settled in Sakai.

Sakai flourished as a free city during the Sengoku period.

When matchlock guns were brought to Tanegashima from Portugal, Sakai quickly became the leading production area for matchlock guns thanks to its superior blacksmithing techniques. The quality of matchlock guns made in Sakai received great support from warlord of the Sengoku period.

The matchlock gun that Oda Nobunaga, a warlord of the Sengoku period, loved all his life, was made in Sakai.

In the Edo period, the demand for matchlock guns gradually decreased, and matchlock guns changed from being practical items to being enjoyed as decorations.

With the production of matchlock guns declining, tobacco imported from Portugal began to spread among the population.

At the same time, tobacco leaves began to be cultivated in Japan, craftsmen in Sakai started making knives for chopping the tobacco leaves. This is said to be the origin of later Sakai knives.

Tobacco knives made in Sakai cut very well and lasted for a long time, so much so that the Edo shogunate at that time sold them all over Japan with the engraving of “Sakai Kiwami” as a government monopoly.

With the passage of time, tobacco production has become mechanized, and Sakai’s tobacco knives are no longer needed.

The craftsmen who had been making tobacco knives until then began making kitchen knives using their experience and skills.

One of the characteristics of Sakai cutlery is the division of labor, and blacksmiths and blade sharpeners spend their entire lives perfecting their respective jobs. By honing their skills together, Sakai craftsmen are able to produce knives of higher quality than those from other knifes producing regions.

In 1982, Sakai cutlery was designated as a traditional craft, and its quality is widely recognized not only in Japan but also in the world.