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Unshu Yukimitsu Hamono / Shimane

Evening work, Okuizumo


Situated in Okuizumo in central Shimane Prefecture, from our perspective in Hiroshima the home and workshop of the Kusunoki family is a long way from anywhere. Be that as it may it seems everyone has their knives.

Our friend Toshi san has three from a visit to Okuizumo with his father almost forty years ago, quite a trek before the days of highways and GPS. Sadae san has a bannou that she loves. A quick scan of the company's customer register reveals near neighbours of ours in Hiroshima are longstanding Unshu Yukimitsu customers and in our own home we have a migaki nakiri gifted from an unrelated knife fan that Mr Kusunoki senior forged in the seventies - he can tell by the bladestamp. It sharpened up beautifully.

Nowadays it's the younger Kusunoki san working well into the evening when the colour of the glowing steel is easier to judge. In his early forties with twenty seven years' knifemaking experience under his belt Kusunoki san forges a wide variety of knives with an energy and attention to detail that must make his father proud, upholding a family tradition in steel that reaches back to 1834.

We are fortunate to offer these beautiful knives but be aware that availability can vary throughout the year. West Japan's torturous summer is an ideal time for Mr Kusunoki to take a break from the business of knifemaking and concentrate instead on the business of selling, in airconditioned comfort.

As a result stock levels of many of Mr Kusunoki's knives become low over the course of the Japanese summer and it's usual for the company to sell out of some styles. It's all a bit unpredictable. We try to keep on top of availability but be aware an order placed around August, with missed timing, may involve a wait that stretches out to some weeks.