SPRINGHAMMER is a documentary about Japanese blacksmiths who dedicate their lives to making culinary knives [it's also the actual mechanical tool used by the blacksmiths]. At the end of WWII, Japan was faced with a burdensome repurposing of many industries, and with military swords no longer in demand despite a tradition carried on since the samurai, the industry turned to the kitchen. Craftsmen, now applying ancient trade skills of blade making to cookery, go largely unnoticed by their countrymen, and have to find a new place in the world for their craft. Thankfully, the world seems to be starting to listen.
We like to call Springhammer an ‘accidental documentary’ – one that kind of happened rather than was intentional. The project came into existence when Kevin Kent, owner of Knifewear, took a leap of faith that bringing cameras into the blacksmith shops on one of his regular visits might end in something cool. He was right. Springhammer was produced by Story Chaser, directed/scored/edited by Kevin Kossowan, interviewing/post-translation by Naoto Fujimoto, executive production by Kevin Kent.