Searching all of Japan for handcrafted items that express its heart and soul, our proprietor, KASHIYUKA, presents things that bring a bit of luxury to everyday life. This trip took her to Tsubame Sanjo in Niigata prefecture, widely regarded as a “handcraft town”, where she came upon handmade kitchen knives in which the spirit of old-world metalsmithing still resides.
The allied townships of Tsubame and Sanjo in Niigata prefecture comprise one of many areas throughout Japan that have come to be known as “handcrafting cities”. There are more than 4000 manufactories in this region alone! The tradition of the smith, in particular, the skilled practice of hammer-forging blades, stands out. Tadafusa has been making handcrafted kitchen knives since its founding.
It’s about a 15-minute drive from Tsubame Sanjo station to the building containing the studio and adjoining shop. Something tugged at my heart from the outset of our visit: On the wall hangs the humble fishery knife that the studio’s been producing from the first, and alongside it, a framed “workshop maxim” that reads, “The skill of the Sanjo smith is to be handed down through time, and we go on…”, “We work to inspire the children of Sanjo’s next generation…”
Tadafusa knife design is modern, sharp, easy to use, and chip-resistant. For this reason, they can be hard to get hold of. In particular, they’ve gained an excellent reputation overseas for their use of traditional knife crafting and Edo-era steel.