Echizen, a city located in Fukui Prefecture, Japan is considered one of Japan’s sword-making capitals. The city has over 700 years of sword-making history and its swords, called “Echizen Unchihamano”, were popular and highly valued amongst the ancient samurai . Today, the city is home to the popular Kato Uchihamono brand of knives.
History of Yoshimi Kato Knives
Echizen Uchihamono knives are one of Japan’s most well-known traditional types of blades with over 700 years of history. Even today, the knives are still handmade using traditional, long-established techniques. One of Echizen’s famous companies is Kato Knife Manufacturing Inc. which was established on April 1, 1953 by Mr. Kintaro Kato. Kato started his career in 1928 producing kitchen knives, and over the years the company has remained family owned and still produces knives and sickles through traditional techniques mixed with modern manufacturing methods. Today, the company is run by Mr. Yoshimi Kato, a 3rd generation Kato who apprenticed under his father, Hiroshi Kato, for many years. Yoshimi’s knives are renowned for its aesthetic features, and feature unique designs that make great gifts for chefs. Today, Yoshimi is also one of the world’s top blacksmiths to still produce Echizen knives around the world.
As the latest generation and son-in-law of Hiroshi Kato, Yoshimi Kato currently runs the business and was taught the techniques used to create the family’s knives. He is also the blacksmith behind several famous knife series from the company such as the Masakage line Hiroshi Kato has also taken on several other apprentices such as Yu Kurosaki and Toru Tamura as he’s inspired by the thought of people using his knives to prepare food.
In April 2018, the company changed its name to Kato Uchihamono Seisakusho Co. Ltd. Still to this day, the company continues to hand make knives using more traditional methods to ensure its quality. While people are drawn to Yoshimo Kato knives due to its outstanding sharpness and beauty of the finish, the knives are also an embodiment of traditional Echizen knifemaking craftsmanship.
Yoshimi Kato not only produces Japanese-style knives, but Western-style as well. Whilet the company is famous for their double-edged knives, they also produce other types of knives such as Santoku knives, Chef knives, Western Santoku knives, Steak knives One of Kato’s famous knives is called the Hagane, which is a kitchen knife with ground iron at both ends, centered on its core. The knives are all extremely sharp and easy to use. Each knife is made with a variety of steels, and the steel which is mostly used contains high amounts of carbon to ensure a sharp edge that’s easy to sharpen. steel that is often used and is made utilizing the best refined steel technology which protects it against everyday wear-and-tear and provides long lasting sharpness. Super Gold 2 is another type of steel commonly used by Kato, and is a high-grade steel that As Kato knives are known for their finish and aesthetic, the knives feature various types of finishes including laminate, which is done by forging materials and stacking multiple pieces of steel together. Nashiji is another type of The blades are polished, making them harder to rust as well. Other types of finished are black-lit finish and black-dyed finish.
Yoshimi Kato’s knives are currently sold domestically in Japan, and are exported to the United States, Canada, and Europe. Users of Kato knives rave about how lightweight, well-balanced, and sharp the knives are. They are also fascinated by the beauty of the blades. Due to the distinct designs of Yoshimi Kato knives, they make great gifts for any chef.