The Changing of the Guard: Ikeda-san Takes Over as 5th Generation Head of Anryu Hamono
March 31, 20212 min read
It is not uncommon in Japan to see a family business continue for many generations. For example, in the Moritaka family, Tsuneshiro Moritaka is the 27th generation to be running his family business. They have been passing the torch for over 700 years! This is a widespread practice throughout Japan, and the region of Takefu is no exception. In January 2021, Takumi Ikeda officially became the 5th generation Anryu, passed down from the 4th generation, Katsushige Anryu, the 4th generation of Anryu Hamono, which has been around since 1873.
Takumi Ikeda-san, 5th generation head of Anryu Hamono. Photo by Visti Kjar, Down North Photography
Takumi Ikeda was born and raised in Yokohama city, Kanagawa prefecture. Yokohama is a megacity with 3.75million people, the most populous municipality in Japan (except for metropolitan Tokyo, which is divided into 23 wards). In 2007 he moved to Echizen city (formally known as Takefu), with a much smaller population of just over 80,000, to abandon the big-city life and become a blacksmith. Why? Because his uncle is Katsushige Anryu. Every Summer when Ikeda-san was small, his mother took him to Takefu to see his uncle. He watched his uncle work with hammers, fire, and steel and was fascinated. He wanted to become like his uncle from a very early age.
Ikeda-san worked very hard and learned so much from his teacher and mentor, Anryu-san. Ikeda-san quickly became the powerhouse of Anryu hamono. Like his mentor, he never compromises on his work; he is very disciplined and diligent. For the past 3 years, he has been the one who forged most of Anryu Hamono’s knives. In 2020, he became a certified traditional craftsman (Dentoh Kogei Shi) for kitchen knife making. Now in 2021, Ikeda-san has officially become head of the business. His knives are every bit as amazing as Anryu-san's, to the point where they can't be told apart.
Anryu-san works daily in Anryu Hamono, and is a very important part of Takefu Knife Village. Photo by Visti Kjar, Down North Photography.
Anryu-san has not retired yet, even over 60 years of being a blacksmith. He shows up at the knife village every day to oversee, mentor, and check Ikeda-san’s work. He also puts his hand on the knives for jobs like straightening, grinding, and finishing. Anryu-san is still an essential part of the Anryu Hamono, but this is a generation shift. The incredible work they’re known for won’t change.
We are very fortunate and honoured to present such great craftspeople for 2 generations in a row, and we look forward to the bright future with Ikeda-san and more new knives to come!