The original Higonokami knives are exclusively manufactured in the Kanekoma forge by Motosuke Nagao (Miki), descending from four generations of blacksmiths. Motosuke Nagao is now quite old and his succession is not guaranteed. There is a danger that the real Higonokami knives will disappear. The "Higo" knives with a Samurai figure on the blade are fine knives but formally no "real" Higonokamis.
A Higonokami pocket knife was traditionally used for small jobs in and around the house, to peel an apple, to sharpen pencils, during camping trips, etc. Actually it is the "Opinel" of Japan but made of a superior steel type. The blade is slightly curved and is roughly finished at the top. This reinforces the traditional feeling with this knife. The steel is hand-forged and extremely hard (usually Japanese Aogami "Blue paper steel" with a Rockwell hardness of> 62), the cheaper versions are made of S55C or SK steel (60-61 HRc). These very affordable knives are made under great time pressure in only 1 small smithy and are not perfectly finished from the factory, many people choose to finish the knife at home and polish it so that it gets a personal character.
The most famous model is called "Sada Koma" and is available in four sizes small (S), medium (M), large (L) and extra large (EL). This knife has a brass handle like on the photo on the right. Other handles are for example steel, titanium or silver.
These are the characteristics of a Higonokami knife:
- A handle made of a folded casing of brass, steel, or titanium, stamped with Japanese Kanji characters that shows the name of the maker and the steel type of the blade.
- The presence of a Chikiri (the lever at the end of the blade) The lack of a locking system.
- The fact that the blade completely disappears in the handle when the blade is closed. Note that the length of the blade is traditionally measured from the point to the Chikiri (lever).
- The actual cutting edge is much shorter (65 mm with a 90 mm blade).
The top four characters say 登録商標 which means "registered trademark", below those is 肥後守 (higonokami). The 定 below that simply means made/customized, and the last character is 駒 (koma) which comes from "Nagao Komataro" ("Nagao" being the family name and "Komataro" the given name), who carried on his Grandfather's work. Around this character is a ﾠﾡ mark called "kane" traditionally used by craftsmen as a sort of trademark symbol. The name "kane" may or may not come from the archaic 矩 (kane) "carpenter's square" which came to be associated with tradesmen.
We only sell the knives in our range to people aged 18 and older. By ordering a knife with us, you declare to be over 18 years old!