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Kuwahara Kaji Kobo / Nagasaki

Way down the coast from Nagasaki but still within the city limits lies the township of Kayaki-cho, one of three hotspots of blade craft in Nagasaki prefecture.

In the Japanese language 'ka' is mosquito, and 'yaki' is derived from 'yaku', the verb meaning to burn, hence 'kayaki', and this led to local forging techniques being referred to as 'mosquito forging'.

It's published widely that the name of the locality is mysteriously derived from these knifemaking techniques, but we've established that it is actually from local agricultural practices. Good story though.

And there's more to the story. These days it's mainly Kuwahara san's sought-after knives.

We've been offering Kuwahara san's work for a few years now and in that time his approach has evolved. He now pays even more attention to final sharpness, and produces knives at a more artisanal tempo.

As a result there are modest variations in blade length and height that affect price. This makes the promotion of Kuwahara san's knives as 'standard' offerings an impractical proposition. On numerous occasions we've found ourselves playing the role of broker on longer, shorter, taller and variously priced approximations of a product listing on Knife Japan. Time consuming, and not always fruitful.

We gave up and for a time removed all listings while we decided upon a way forward. If you've visited Knife Japan looking for Kuwahara san's knives and found no trace of them, that's why.

We've now settled on a means to help Kuwahara san reach customers through Knife Japan, and to offer interested buyers the periodic opportunity to purchase his knives.

We usually drop in on Kuwahara san to chew the fat when passing through Nagasaki, and what we've decided to do is offer Knife Japan's audience the opportunity to join a mailing list. When we visit we'll knock up a list of presently available knives and open orders for a short period on the basis of first in, best dressed.

If you'd like to sign up please shoot us a message from our Contact Us page detailing your interest and presto, you'll be on the list. We'll give a day or two's notice of any forthcoming visit to Kayaki-cho and a product summary will follow when we've had the chance to summarize the knives Kuwahara san has on hand.

Meanwhile please treat the knives listed under our Kuwahara Kaji Kobo category as a gallery intended to showcase his work. It's not possible to place an order from the product page on Knife Japan (still feeling a little weird about that) but if you like what you see please consider joining the mailing list and we'll be in touch in due course.

Please note that some of the listings here are semi-historical and similar knives may or may not be available for purchase.