Ikenami Hamono Yanagiba sashimi-bocho 210mm
Tanegashima Island has a special place among knife making centres in Japan. Sakai, Seki and other centres are better known overseas; Tanegashima is a byword for steel technology in Japan and boasts a history of metallurgy and iron production proven to date back to the Yayoi Period. Artisans have produced fine blades on the island since the 12th century.
Ikenami Hamono represents the last of the island's active guild members and has long enjoyed a strong reputation with professional users in Japan. Over the decades their te-uchi kataha yanagiba has played a big part in maintaining that reputation.
Ask an experienced owner what sets this knife apart and you'll likely be met with the answer "kiri-aji". Probably the closest translation is "cutting feel". A little nebulous. Let's just say it's sharp, and feels special. The YSS Aogami-ni-go steel is forged very hard as is the tradition on Tanegashima (we'd love to be able to offer a number from the Rockwell scale, but makers like Ikenami Hamono have no cause to test). Naturally all blades are still forged and sharpened entirely by hand. We're told that sharpness and edge retention are exceptional even by Japanese standards. Handles are beautifully finished sandalwood and horn.
|Blade steel:||YSS Aogami #2 | nantetsu|
|Bevel:||Kataha single bevel|
|Ferrule:||Water buffalo horn|
|Weight in hand:||125g
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