From what I've seen, if Keiichi has knives, he'll sell them. Even when the yen was super strong against the dollar, which would have been the best time to pull inventory and hold stocks since his profit margin would have been much smaller even with his price increase over the years, he consistently had inventory of most of the knives he carries to this day.
"Don't you know who he is?"
For example, I've been to the Hamono Museum - twice - the only other visitors I saw were tour groups of middle-aged folk, mostly women, doing a mandatory stop in the ground floor for non-knife souvenirs. The knife shop upstairs (big variety of stuff to buy) is basically a sleepy loft, and my impression is if a visitor arrives it'll be one of the highlights of the day.
To reference another thread where seeking out and visiting the makers was discouraged by a rather prominent member, seems to me that there could be a lot more to do in these places. In the Hamono Museum there is no one to talk to to tell you of places to visit, no knife geeks at all. The actual hamono stuff is even hidden up in the upstairs floor. In Sakai or Kyoto, where there are loads of people still involved in the trade, there are no tours or mentions in the tourism lit. In Kyoto you're told to go to Aritsugu in Nishiki and that's it. I wonder but doubt if it's different in Seki or Sanjo.
Blacksmiths and bladesmiths might not be used to or trained to deal with visitors, especially foreign, but seems that more could be done to promote these traditional crafts and industries in Japan. (Lots is done for other industries in contrast.)
Anyway, sorry. My feeling was that there are few visitors to the SY shop, and so stocking the shelves wasn't a priority. I think there's an office in the back, and the paperwork and sales there are probably what the guy there works on. (Met him, he's the owner.)
It's kinda annoying that Keiichi has such little stock. I know he took a break a while ago but for a while he was adding a load of new different Sakai Yusukes almost every week. I think their popularity is probably just the reason for the lack of stock, with Konosukes being so expensive now I think the Yusukes are commonly recommended and word has spread
Keiichi is a preferred Yusuke merchant for sure. They keep him in the supply chain for some reason. Perhaps he has some personal connection--total conjecture. It is true that he only gets a few knives at a time.
Agreed Mhlee. Keiichi sells the Yusuke lasers he has in stock instantly. I like my Y as much as my Kono's. I wish we could get Y to engrave the Kangi. Y just won't do it. The Kangi on Kono's is so pretty. Reminds me of a Samurai warrior in motion.
Steven, right on. Zwiffel came by with the Masamoto KS 270 to compare to the Yuke W2 240's profiles. They weren't the same, although its hard to compare a 240 and a 270 length blades. The steel felt harder on the board with the KS, I only had it for a few hours with it but there's a reason that knife has a following. It's Bitchen for sure.
Can anyone compare a Yusuke to one of their Konosuke HD's? I know the steel is different, but they're in a similar class in my book. The F&F of Konosuke has been much maligned lately
How are the profiles different? In photos the masamoto looks to be a tad flatter to me, is that correct?
thats what i thought as well. now i want another one.
Iterestingly enough I wasn't the only blade enthusiast around. I met a few. One gentleman from Italy was carrying at least 4K of blades for himself and his co-workers. Mostly Tads. I believe the shops do a brisk business. Certainly enough to keep brick and mortar locations with fairly high overhead afloat. In the case of SY they have signs and displays in English. I would assume that enough English speakers pass through to justify the expense.
Yes, the person you met was the owner but he is the owner of the shop. Not the owner of the Sakai Yusuke brand (Coincidentally I beleive his name is Sakai but not as in SY. Different character if memory serves). He's an independent businessman. One has to remember that for the most part the shops are run by individuals and while they specialize in a brand, they are not owned by that brand. The shops don't exist for show. They exist to turn a profit and feed families. The reason why they didn't have a lot of stock is a matter of pure speculation. I brought up the point of the store's stock in response to the fact that online resources are having trouble meeting demand so all things are equal. I don't see any mystery there. Something must be going on higher up in the chain. On a business level I can't see a local representative tolerating a flood of knives shipping to 3rd party suppliers while not having any himself to supply his walk-in clientele. I doubt anyone is going to represent one brand exclusively without having some sort of supply agreement. On a side note, one shop owner indicated that they do fairly well supplying the local market of pros too so were not just talking tourists. COD phone sales are quite common. I actually just processed one myself through a Japanese national.
I doubt you would find anyone willing to provide you with info on various shops or makers at the museum. Lets call the place what it is. A tourist trap. More of a store than a museum IMO. Even if I'm partially right a partial tourist trap still requires tourists.
Beyond knives I though Sakai was a nice place with many historical points of interest. Enough for the city to have walking tour markers along the main thoroughfares anyway. I found a lot to see outside the shops and I ate well too.
As for the rest I'm not sure which post you are referring to so I can only offer this. I've been more than blessed where travel is concerned and as I see it, the more tourism you pour into tradition the worse it gets. I'm a J knife enthusiast and I do my part by buying the products and spreading the word. If I were a blacksmith and I knew my lineage had dried up or my tradition was otherwise dying I'd rather have it die without a bunch of clumsy tourists in my workspace.