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Japanese knives (hocho) are nowadays used and respected all around the world. But not so long ago they have been unloved and unknown. From the moment that the Japanese knives slowly spread through the world, many chefs outside Japan started to experience the traditional Japanese knives. They discovered the razor sharp knives from Japan while cutting with ease through the various products. Thanks to that sharpness they could achieve the greatest taste of the ingredient.
The Aoki Hamono Seisakusyo Co., Ltd was founded in 1947. The company was an answer for a need of traditionally forged Japanese knives. To this day they continue making new models. The President Takayuki Aoki is the head of the company established in the south of Osaka, Sakai.
"Sakai Takayuki" is a guarantee of the highest quality of Japanese knives manufactured by traditional craftsmen, using the knowledge of the past in combination with new technics of today.
In 2017 we've visited the smithy of Sakai Takayuki in Osaka for the very first time. We've recieved a warm welcome from the President of the company, Toshikazu Aoki and Hirohisa Ogawa. Within minutes I was standing in a forging pit next to Itsuo Doi himself, the fourth generation master blacksmith. Respect. The heat, the noise, the steel and the hamer blow- not your usual day at the office. Doi's immeasurable strive for perfection results in the handmade knives of highest quality.
Elwin de Veld about the knives of Sakai Takayuki:
We usually start our trips to Japan in Osaka, from where we take a Shinkansen ( a bullet train) to Seki, in Gifu prefecture. We start in Sakai, in south of Osaka, where we always recieve a warm friendly welcome from Aoki san and Ogawa san from Sakai Takayuki. In recent years the customers in our shop have been asking for special Japanese traditionally forged knives: Yanagiba, Sakimura, Kengata: all the names of models which are used in Japanese kitchens for preparing various sorts of fish. Sakai Takayuki is my key which opens the door to the world of traditional Japanese knives and to top it all, their product range is targeted for the western market. For making of the traditional Japanese knives Sakai Takayuki employs the best of the best: Itsuo Doi and Kenji Togashi, among others. The blacksmith Yamatsuke san, with his stable hand on the Kaiten Toshi (Japanese water stone), is a guarantor of an exceptionally sharp finish. Sakai Takayuki buys lots of their steel from the Aichi steel (their headquarters are situated close to Nagoya) and works among other with carbon steel shirogami white and aogami blue. A nice detail: the colours in the names of the steel have nothing to do with the colour of the steel itself- it's just the colour of the packing in which the raw steel is being stored in the factory. The western models are manually finished at the company's quarters in Osaka (sharpening), but largely manufactured in Seki, in Gifu prefecture. The finish and the quality is sublime- just what we can expect from Takayuki.