The last "Higo no Kami"
The formula was a success! The knife has a simple design, an easy to sharpen carbon blade and is inexpensive due to 50 smiths manufacturing the knive. Pencil sharpening contests were even organized because of all the people having a lot of fun with these knives. They were still popular in World War II even during the lack of raw materials in that time.
Yet after World War II, the Americans forbid the making of swords and again alot of smiths were out of jobs. The death blow of the Higonokami is in 1961 when a mentally disturbed 17-year-old boy killed the leader of the socialist party in public with a sword which was banned in 1876. This assassination was seen on public news, as a result, an intense anti-knife campaign rampaged through the country and since then it was restricted to carry knives. Almost all the blacksmiths needed to find another job because their working profession had come to an end. The love for Higonokami was kept alive by people with nostalgic feelings and childhood memories. Today it lost its popularity and the the youth of Japan barely know what a Higonokami is.
Thus, Higonokami is a trademark. There are replicas and smiths who still make these sort of knives, but not the classic Higonokami. Only one smith remains of the guild who can make the Higonokami: Motosuke Nagao from Miki. He descends from four generations of blacksmiths.
You can recognize the historical, classic blade by a couple of things:
• A handle made out of a folded sheath of brass stamped with kanjis detailing the name of the maker and the steel of the blade: a sanmai with an aogami edge (blue paper steel).
• The presence of a chikiri (the lever) on the blade, to open the knife.
• The lack of a locking system.
• The fact that the blade entirely disappears in the handle when the knife is closed.
• The gold and blue box.
The traditional Higonokami knife with the gold and blue box.
The story of the Higonokami blade goes far further than one should think and took us back to the start in the era of samurai. The knife should truly be cherished because of its epic culture. We have the knives in various types and sizes. Visit our store to hold the knife and feel the raw energy that the blade carries within and its pleasant grip. You can polish the hilt with sand paper and polishing paste and the hilt will shine like the Sakura flowers on Mount Fuji. The Higonokami knife is an amazing gift for anyone who loves history, exotic gadgets or knives.
“The Japanese believe their soul goes into our knives once we start using them. You wouldn't put your soul in a dishwasher!” – Masaharu Morimoto