Finding his workshop starts by walking through the labyrinth streets of Sakai, a true challenge for a non resident of Osaka. To enter Fujii san's workshop, you need to go through his living room and kitchen. Born and raised in Sakai, Mr. Fujii is a 3rd generation master sharpener. He has more than 50 years of knife production experience and over a hundred years of knife history in his family. Mr. Fujii continues to sharpen till this day and with the popularity of his knives, he has been able to bring on new apprentices to make knives with him in order to passionately pass on his skills to the next generation.
In the late 16th century, tobacco was introduced from Portugal and the Japanese started to grow it throughout Japan. Since they needed many knives for cutting tobacco leaves, "tobacco knives" were first produced in Sakai. For its sharpness, they were given a special hallmark called "Sakai-Kiwame" by the Edo feudal government and spread as monopoly goods in Japan.
Sakai knives, also known as wabocho, are carefully made one by one. They have received good reviews from many professional chefs and now it's said most of the knives they use are from Sakai.
Sakai Kanechika is based out of Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture. This area is well known for its many knifemakers. Some of these knifemakers use sub contractors, who are specialised in their own field. Like us, we specialise in sharpening, they are also small mostly family owned businesses who specialise in sharpening or forging etcetera. Eventually the knife is finished at the mani factory. Mr. Fujii san speciallises in sharpening and is in the knife business for more then 50 years. Fuji san continues to sharpen to this day and with the popularity of his knives, he has been able to bring on new apprentices to make knives in order to passionately pass on his skills to the next generation.
“I’ve had some difficulties with the flow of the times, but I’m really glad to see people who are happy with my knives. My dream is to bring awareness to the quality and sharpness of Japanese knives.”
– Keiichi Fujii