Takeo Murata is well known as the top knife maker of Shikoku. He hand forges his knives from Aogami #1 (#1 Blue steel) near the city of Kochi. His knives represent some of the best Japan has to offer. His one off, hand folded steel, bespoke knives are in such high demand that they can carry a price tag as high as $4,500CAD for a single blade!
Often referred to as Yasuki #1 Blue Steel this is a great knife makers steel. It is hard, extremely easy to re-sharpen, rust resistant (for carbon steel), capable of an outstanding mirror finish and a long lived edge. What more can you want? This is high performance steel.
When knives are hand forged the steel spends quite a bit of time in the coal fire and the carbon on the outside of the blade burns. This leaves the blade black. Many knives are ground, buffed and polished to expose new shiny metal, but some are left as is. Murata san’s knives are left black, this finish is known as kurochi (the black one). This very traditional way of making a knife is sought after by Japanese knife aficionados. I am one of these. I love the black ones.
Shikoku Island is famous for the 1400km pilgrimage known as the “88 Sacred Temples of Shikoku”. Here pilgrims can follow in the steps of the great Buddhist Saint Kobo Daishi (774-835) on his road to enlightenment. In the past this was a dangerous undertaking with many mountain passes, but made easier now with mobile phones and convenience stores. Wow, knife info and a small travel guide, what more could you want.
These knives are finished with a Western style pakka wood handle. Pakka wood is basically layers of rose or sandal wood bound with heaps of silicone. This type of handle is very rugged; I would say they are virtually indestructible. The handle is fixed to the tang with three rivets for strength and durability.
|Steel Type||#1 Aogami (Blue carbon) Steel|
|Handle Material||Pakka wood welded bolster|