Takamura Hamono was founded in 1945 by Isao Takamura, the grandfather of Terukazu Takamura, the current Head Blacksmith. When Isao’s son, Toshiyuki Takamura, started working at Takamura Hamono, his focus was on improving the quality and status of stainless steel knives. In those days, stainless steel knives were perceived as being of poor quality, because at the time they used steel that was formulated only for rust resistance, not sharpness or edge retention. Toshiyuki wanted to change the perception and began researching ways to make stainless steel knives with edge retention similar to high quality carbon steel knives. In 1982, he experimented with using High Speed Powder Stainless steel. Previously this steel was only used in drill bits for machining and other industrial uses. He was the one of the first to adopt this new type of steel for kitchen knives. After 20 years of experience with high speed powder stainless steel, the quality of his knives reached its highest level. In 2002, he start the production of famous and popular “Uchigumo” line which we sell in our shops today.
One of the happy side-effects of his experimentation came about while they were furiously experimenting with steels and techniques. As they would make each prototype, they would sharpen the edge without finishing the surface, meaning the marks created by Toshiyuki-san’s hammer were left visible. When they tested the knives on food they noticed that food slices didn’t stick to the hammered surface as much as a polished knife, making for a more pleasant experience. This is where the popular “tsuchime” pattern now used on many many brands of Japanese knives was born.
Toshiyuki Takamura has received many awards from the local Government of Fukui and Government of Japan for his efforts, accomplishments, and contributions to knife making. In 2016 though, he received the Medal of Honour from the Emperor of Japan, the highest honour achievable in Japan. He earned this esteemed award through his 60-plus years of continuous efforts and research to improve the quality and sharpness of stainless steel knives, the invention of the tsuchime finish, and his success in adapting new materials for manufacturing kitchen knives.