Of all the workshops we work with, Tetsujin is one of the nearest and dearest to my heart as the blacksmith at Tetsujin, Toru Tamura once worked for me at Knifewear! He and renowned knife sharpener Naohito Myojin started Tetsujin in the late 2010s, and they’re producing some world-class blades that I’m very excited about.
Toru came to Canada on a ‘working holiday’ with a one-year work visa and, shortly after, applied for a job at Knifewear. He was one of our first-ever employees! This was back in 2008 or 2009, when we only had one small shop in Inglewood, Calgary. We only had a couple of staff, and Toru fit right in with his passion for knives and music. It didn’t hurt that he was from Japan, and could teach us Canadians a thing or two about his homeland. While living in Calgary and working at Knifewear, he joined a band called ‘Peach Legs” (weird name, and I love it), and when he returned to Japan, he left his bass guitar hanging on the wall of the shop where it remains to this day.
After his year in Canada, Toru-san went back to Japan with the intent of becoming a blacksmith and scored an apprenticeship under the legendary Hiroshi Kato in Takefu Knife Village. After learning much from Kato-san, he took up a second apprenticeship under Shimizu-san, learning to make traditional single-bevel knives. This means Toru-san is adept at forging both double-bevel and single-bevel blades, something of a rarity among Japanese blacksmiths. He’s since really come into his own as a maker and is now producing some fantastic knives!
Naohito Myojn was born into the family that owns Myojin Riki Seisakusho. Their main business is to sharpen knives that are forged elsewhere, so needless to say, Myojin-san was around knife sharpening from a very young age. As the oldest son, he has been helping with the family business since he was just a boy, knowing he would eventually succeed his father in the business his grandfather started. When he was 18, he officially started to work as a knife sharpener but never enjoyed it. One big reason for his lack of enthusiasm is that he could never picture the end-user when he was sharpening knives, so there was no passion in his heart for the work. After several years of working at the family business, he was able to get an apprenticeship under a famous master sharpener in Echizen. He was astonished by the astronomical level of skill that this sharpener had developed and realized just how long a road he had ahead of him. He threw himself into learning knife sharpening with renewed vigour and eventually acquired an incredible set of skills. Around this time, he also realized just how happy his knives made the people who bought them. In Tosa, makers often follow the guidelines et out by the wholesalers that they work for, but Myojin-san is different. He’s always considering better ways to do things and finding new approaches, going above and beyond what’s required of him.
It goes without saying that now, Myojin-san is easily one of the best knife sharpeners in all of Japan. His work has gained serious renown amongst knife nerds the world over, folks who can recognize just how incredible his finished products are. He works with a ton of different blacksmiths, taking their forged steel and transforming them into instruments of mass vegetable destruction. He’s truly a sharpening genius: the way he tapers and polishes blades allow them to glide through food more smoothly than I ever thought possible. Anybody obsessed with Japanese knives either has one of his blades already or has one on their radar.
Together, these two are the powerhouse known as Tetsujin Hamono. The blades carefully crafted by Tamura-san are refined into true masterpieces by Myojin-san. Their incredible skill and youthful energy result in blades that cut like crazy and generally handle beautifully. Right now, Knifewear is mostly getting blades from them made with Aogami (blue carbon steel), a material prized for its excellent sharpness and edge retention, but I’m excited to see what else they produce going forward. These guys are going to go places, and you’d be wise to get one of their blades before they really take off!
Naoto came to Canada several years ago and we aren't letting him go back. After getting angry with his roommate's dull knives, he started to dream of sharp Japanese knives. Naoto graduated from University of Calgary with a bachelor degree of art, majoring International Relations and finds that selling Japanese knives is his own way of doing international relations. Naoto is our Head of Shipping and receiving. You can also see him in SpringHammer looking cool and holding it all together.