Okubo Kajiya / Tokushima
|That's how it's done. Wordless coordination and a perfect strike.|
Tokushima Prefecture lies between the knife-making powerhouses of Sakai city in Osaka Prefecture and Tosa city in Kochi Prefecture. From a smithy point of view things have always been fairly quiet in Tokushima.
But nestled in a small valley just far enough from Tokushima City to be called the country, there's a small, elven-like forge producing traditional edge tools of wonderful quality.
Okubo Kajiya is the sole knife maker in the prefecture and without a great deal of information to uncover beforehand we weren't quite sure what to expect on our first visit. What we found was a rich spirit of craftsmanship, and that welcoming generosity that makes traveling around Japan such a pleasure.
Wow. What an experience. The kind of experience that makes all we do at Knife Japan more fascinating with each passing year. Seated inches from Okubo san's anvil and forge we witnessed a wonderful demonstration of the craft. Great cleaving strikes of the long hammer through to delicate final shaping, all the while the younger Mr Okubo sharing a patient and thoughtful explanation of his father's work throughout the forging process. Wonderful.
Output from this small family concern is modest, and there's usually a wait involved in purchasing one of Okubo san's fine knives. But what will arrive will be a beautifully-executed hand-crafted tool, with lovely cutting feel right out of the box.