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Otake Te-uchi Hamono / Hiroshima

 (Koshimizu san isn't always this serious)

Tucked behind the hills to the west of Hiroshima City and to the east of Iwakuni lies one of the nicest workshops you'll ever lay eyes on, a master-built Japanese structure in traditional style that houses the forge and workshop where Koshimizu Morikazu enjoys a life of quiet semi-retirement.

Mr Koshimizu is a veteran knifemaker, and in some ways a living link to Japan's swordmakers of old. His great-grandfather was master swordmaker to the Kikkawa clan, the feudal lords of the district where the modern city of Iwakuni now sits, and whose castle has looked down over the magnificent Kintaikyo Bridge since 1673.

There must be very few active knifemakers in Japan who can say they first stood in front of a forge over eighty years ago - yes, Koshimizu san is getting on in years, but he's as sharp as they come. Watching him in his workshop is a real pleasure. Confident hands.

Mr Koshimizu doesn't want to get too busy and so these days the bannou is the only knife he produces on a commercial basis. You might call him a master hobbyist.