So we just got notice of never before seen Nenohi knives being sold at Korin. We have a few snap shots of what it looks like, but I actually haven't seen the knives yet either.
Here's the story...
A single yanagi knife requires at least four skilled craftsmen and two weeks to create. Even top knife companies can only produce knives at the rate of ten to twelve pieces per day. The knife making process is divided into four distinct stages: forging, blade making, handle crafting and assembling. A skilled craftsman conducts the blade through many different steps before it is passed on to the next craftsman. The number of steps varies from knife to knife according to the shape of the blade, the type of materials used, as well as the finishing procedures required. A top-grade knife undergoes upwards of fifty different steps.
It is a sharpener's duty to put forth knives to the public, therefore it is the sharpener who determines the quality and nature of the forged knives. A master sharpener only sharpens blades that are forged by master craftsmen, and a master craftsmen only sends the best within the best to be sharpened by a master sharpener. Craftsmen must be very careful about which forged knives they send to a master sharpener. In the event a master sharpener rejects a forged knife, they will no longer continue to sharpen the craftsman's knife. Due to this strict process, Sakai is recognized to be one of Japan's most famous traditional Japanese knife crafting city.
Until recently, it was not public knowledge who forged a knife and there were no famous craftsmen or records of them. However, records of master sharpeners and their many awards of acknowledgement still remain, one of whom is the late master sharpener Ino. Within the hundreds of forgers who wished to have their blades sharpened by master Ino, master forger Haruma was recognized. The masterpieces that Korin would like to present are knives that master Ino determined to be master Haruma's best work and saved unsharpened for 30 to 40 years. These forged knives are considered to be the best from that era, and knives of this material is no longer available on the market.
These blades are sharpened by master Ino's descendent. To avoid damaging the knife while being showcased or handled, they do not have a real blade and must be sharpened after purchase.
[Translated for the website by Mari.]
By the way, I thought it was a little awkward that master Ino's decedents are selling knives that their ancestor left behind as treasures of that era... But I'm not complaining, I'm extremely happy Nenohi gave us the honor of letting us, a US seller, have these knives. I guess it doesn't do them any good to hold onto them forever and I'm just a sentimentalist. Hm.
Anyways, when I get more details about these knives I'll post it here.
Thanks for reading and happy thanks giving! I hope everyone is having a wonderful time black friday shopping.