Kisuke Manaka is a relatively young, 5th generation, blacksmith in Kasukabe, Saitama pref. His father-in-law was a wholesaler masquerading as a blacksmith, and Manaka-san didn’t like the dishonest way his father-in-law operated his business so he decided to become a blacksmith himself. He didn’t have anyone who could teach him, but he had a pile of equipment that he had inherited such as a spring hammer, a sharpening wheel, etc. He began making knives from scratch about 10 years ago and experienced many years of struggle and learning from his struggles. Through sheer force of effort, he developed the technique to forge-weld steels in house, even forge welding stainless steel which is no easy task.
Now he forge-welds everything in house, from hard carbon steel clad with soft steel, stainless steel clad with stainless, and carbon steel clad with stainless steel. He learned a wide array of heat treatment techniques including sub-zero heat treatment for stainless steel. He prefers ATS-34 stainless steel (A stainless steel made by Hitachi that is popular among knife makers in Japan). He also forges the extremely dense ZDP-189, as well as VANADIS 4 Extra.