Echigo blacksmith, Tsukasa Hinoura is the third-generation of his family to become a blacksmith. In addition to inheriting his family’s trade name “Ajigataya”, he decided that will also produce his own original line of knives under the brand name “Tsukasa”.
Hinoura-san has committed himself to find his own unique way to best express his skill and passion for knife making.
Our first impression of Master Hinoura’s knives brings a sense of artistic perfection. His knives are perfect with beautiful seamless lines and form, no sharp corners (except for one :)), no distortion, no gaps etc. It became clear that, from start to finish, Master Hinoura devotes tremendous time making each knife and that he pays great attention to every single detail.
Upon visit to master Hinoura factory, we learned that, unlike the majority of Japanese blacksmiths, Master Hinoura never uses modern machinery and he even forge welds modern hi-tech steels using the old traditional Wa-Kaji hand-forging technique because he believes that it produces the most beautiful seamless welds between the layers of Hagane (Carbon steel) and Jitetsu (Wrought iron) that are used in the construction of his stunning Kitae-Ji (鍛地) (“Damascus”) knives.
Similarly, Master Hinoura still uses the traditional Japanese Hizukuri hot hammer forging technique (A labour-intensive process, that uses repeated use of light hammer blows to shape the blade and improve the microstructure of the steel, leading to improved toughness and sharpness) and the traditional method of water tempering because he believes that they produce the best results.
Hinoura-san also hand-hones each knife with several different grits of whetstone before polishing the final cutting edge with a natural Japanese water-stone. This time-consuming process of sharpening and honing takes at least two hours per blade to complete, but he believes it is necessary because it produces the sharpest edge possible on his carbon steel blades and it also brings out the character of the iron used in his Damascus cladding. We agree. The polished layers of steel and iron in the bevel of his knives have a beautiful and mysterious sparkling surface… a “Honed Beauty”. In addition, the way in which the steel interacts with the whetstones allows Master Hinoura to confirm that the blade steel has been properly heat-treated.
Designed and made in Japan