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Minomo Hamono / Kumamoto

Ninth-generation craftsman Minomo Minoru san, entering the zone.

"The world of the Japanese kajiya is a strict one. This is important work. The responsibility lies with the craftsman to produce cutting tools that are sharp and safe."

From anyone else you might think... yeah, yeah, heard it before. When the words are those of a ninth-generation master craftsman they do carry more gravitas.

The Minomo family in Kyushu's Hitoyoshi city have been at this important work for a long time - Minoru san, at the height of his powers, stands as the current lynch pin of a family concern founded in the Edo era. Tenth in the family line, son Isamu san joined the family concern in recent years and will satisfy his DNA-drive with a forty-year second career working in steel. Grandfather, patriarch and master knife maker Yutaka san has stepped back a little now he's past the eighty-year mark, and spends much of his time sharing the fundamentals of his craft with students and visitors to Hitoyoshi City's excellent Craft Park. Highly recommended.

Together the three present generations of working men in the Minomo clan continue to observe deep traditions of fine blade-craft with energy, creativity and a refreshing sense of openness and sharing.

Travelling to Hitoyoshi city? Set aside time to join a keiken knife making session with Minomo san and leave Japan with a knife you almost made yourself. It's a revelation.