Competitive rugby or blacksmithing? Not your usual career paths to choose from, but Takumi Ikeda-san was at that crossroad.
Usually blacksmiths pass their business and skills down to their first-born son. It’s tradition, and Japan is nothing if not traditional. Katsushige Anryu- san, however, only had daughters, so his nephew, Takumi Ikeda, decided to get involved. Born in 1986, Ikeda-san has been learning from Anryu-san since 2007 in the legendary knife-making area known as Takefu Knife Village. In January of 2021, Anryu-san passed the reigns on Anryu-hamono to his nephew Ikeda-san. For years Ikeda-san has been forging the majority of Anryu knives, and we are excited to see how he drives the company forward into the future.
I’ve often said Ikeda-san is the strongest man in Japan. Being a rugby- playing, sports-obsessed blacksmith is exactly the way to build a very solid strong body. It also makes you hungry and, man, can Ikeda-san put it away when needed. Maybe he has a future as a competitive eater. Ikeda-san uses a coke fire, as his master Anryu-san has trained him, and he loves to make Damascus steel-style blades. It’s a fun way for blacksmiths to show off their talents.
Check out the Masakage Kumo line to see his skill at creating Damascus steel and also Kotetsu knives, for his forging skills. Like many blacksmiths, he loves carbon steel—the best for traditional Japanese knife making and re-sharpening—especially Aogami Super for its edge retention and sexiness. It is the steel of the moment for blacksmiths. And apparently rugby players that like to eat a lot.