Sakai Kikumori was founded in 1926 by Kawamura Hamono, as a wholesaler of Sakai knives. They’re a relatively small player in the region, but that allows them to be very flexible and open to new ideas. Their number one goal is to see their knives put to use, making people happy in their kitchens. Food is an essential part of life, and a great meal is a great place for gathering. The great gathering leads to conversations and happiness. Their focus is always on the customers who use their knives, and they want the customers to enjoy cooking with them. All of their knives are handmade by local craftspeople, who they collaborate with to achieve these goals.
At Sakai Kikumori we were introduced to some blades forged by Yoshikazu Tanaka-san, and they also showed us knives that were sharpened by master sharpeners in the area. We really liked the blades that were sharpened by Ajioka-san, so we decided to have a small line of knives made that would be a collaboration between Ajioka-san and Tanaka-san.
Considered to be one of the best blacksmiths in the region, Yoshikazu Tanaka-san has been blacksmithing for over a half-century. He now works with his son and one apprentice. He is a traditionalist, yet he always seeks to improve his process and skills.
Ajioka-san is a very important knife sharpener in Sakai, having been in the knife sharpening industry for more than a half-century. Like Sakai Kikumori, Ajioka-san always has the end-user in mind when he sharpens knives. He is also a great mentor and educator, hiring many young apprentices in his workshop and going to local high schools to teach the craft. He is very keen to pass down the skills and traditions to younger generations.