Dentoukougeishi or traditional Japanese craftsmen

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by Midsummer, Jul 13, 2019 at 3:23 PM.

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  1. Jul 13, 2019 at 3:23 PM #1

    Midsummer

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    I have found very little discussion of this designation.

    It appears to be a high honor for smiths in Japan.

    Similar to master smith in US?

    Why do we refer to it so infrequently here?

    DO some think it is a marketing ploy?

    I think there are many opinions and likely within our midst are some who have greater knowledge about this designation that I hope they may share. Thanks in advance for any useful contributions. Useless contributions are welcome too.
     
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  2. Jul 13, 2019 at 3:57 PM #2

    HRC_64

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    Its not really that interesting, for various reasons.

    first, its a trad-j-knife thing
    a gyuto isn't really a tadtional japanese knife

    second, its a sakai-region thing, and sakai area gyutos are pretty generic
    however... the better ones are made by these guys anyway (under...konosuke, takayuki, masamoto, geshin, etc)

    third, better designed gyutos often (if not always) come from outside sakai
    viz shig/kato/wat/hinoura/mazaki from sanjo... tokyo with TF, etc

    just my $0.02
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 4:08 PM
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  3. Jul 13, 2019 at 4:03 PM #3

    Gregmega

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    Not only did you not answer his question, little, if any, of what you said makes any sense. Just my $0.02.
     
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  4. Jul 13, 2019 at 4:06 PM #4

    HRC_64

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    3. "...DO some think it is a marketing ploy?"....Marketing 'ploy' would be to strong a word for it.
    2. "..Why do we refer to it so infrequently here?" ...alot of [already-expensive] brands use these guys...
    1. "I have found very little discussion of this designation."....Because most KKF hype is non-sakai-region related
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 4:15 PM
  5. Jul 13, 2019 at 4:31 PM #5

    osakajoe

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    To OP, don’t say smiths. It’s a western eye that assumes only a Smith can make a knife. A smith hammers and forgers a knife blank. A grinder turns that into a cutting tool. Totally different crafts but each hard and long to master. You can become an official craftsman of forging, sharpening and many other crafts in Japan (chopsticks, bowls, carvings, etc.). Usually requires 10+ years of non stop working and to be recognized by peers to earn that title. But again it is just a title given by a board who either rarely knows deep aspects of the trade and skill or are in the same circle (IMO).

    C’mon hrc I thought you were better than this...

    He’s asking about people not brands. Most of those Sakai names you just dropped are Sakai wholesaler brands, oem made in Sakai by actual craftsman (many who have the title or just don’t care to get it).

    Yes Sakai is dominantly single bevel made knives. and the first floor of the cutlery association is filled Seki made Sakai wholesaler branded knives. But go upstairs and you can find the actual craftsman made brands, many who have the title. This Sakai has failed at promoting their craftsman.

    the dentou title is a huge an honor to bestowed and a long hard road to earn. However I do agree that it does not automatically mean absolute best quality.

    I know many who don’t care to get it because it means becoming part of the board or “click” that requires you to go to meetings or do official duties that are unrelated to being a true craftsman, hammering or grinding 6 days a week 9-6 until you physically can’t or die.



    Back to the OP, ignore 98 percent of the people on here. Most don’t know what their talking about and have loud voices or they like the color purple and you should too. You’ll eventually figure out what you like and who to listen to on here with a grain of salt or intently.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 4:40 PM
  6. Jul 13, 2019 at 4:37 PM #6

    Gregmega

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    Yeah. Your pre-edit post was about 70% less fleshed out.
     
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  7. Jul 13, 2019 at 4:59 PM #7

    Eitan78

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    yeah-well-thats-just-like-you-know-your-opinion-man-28805006.jpg
     
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  8. Jul 13, 2019 at 5:47 PM #8
    Guys, this is an interesting topic that most of us know little about, any many most likely have some version of at least partially oversimplified miss conception of it.

    So please take this into account when commenting and try to keep this thread in topic without a need for a moderation.

    @Eric Chevallier - maybe you could give us a deeper insight?
     
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  9. Jul 13, 2019 at 6:22 PM #9

    HRC_64

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    The OP was asking alot of questions, and there are differnt levels of abstracton in how to answer him.

    its going down alot of rabbit holes in politics/economics/business/brand fanboyism
    ...etc to anwer every question in every possible way...

    But in general, I don't think they are "under-hyped" in a meaningful way.

    Thats good and bad...you can find some diamonds in the rough for sure
    and you can find many famous knives that have these guys names attached already

    whether or not they are the best/value/performers/fit depends on the situation
    and many personal preferences, etc
     
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  10. Jul 13, 2019 at 6:34 PM #10

    chinacats

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    Who cares, how does it cut?

    And yes, purple rocks!

    Btw, only ms knife I've used i didn't find very impressive but what do i know?
     
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  11. Jul 13, 2019 at 6:38 PM #11

    Midsummer

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    You know what you know...
     
  12. Jul 13, 2019 at 9:38 PM #12

    Garm

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    @HRC_64
    I believe Hinoura has this title. Shiro Kamo as well I think, so it's not limited to Sakai makers or craftsmen focusing exclusively on traditional Japanese blades.
     
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  13. Jul 13, 2019 at 10:18 PM #13

    ojisan

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    Dentoukougeishi is not a Sakai thing at all. It's actually not only for knives as well. It's a title for those who devote their lives to traditional craft works, and defined by a law.
     
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  14. Jul 13, 2019 at 10:46 PM #14

    HRC_64

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    Ya'll are being too literal...its a "sakai thing" in the sense of that's where many of these guys are concentrated, where the craftsman have tehe most 'anonymity', and therefore where the generic marker of "trad craftsman" (usually a stamp or sticker designation) is most likely to be useful...in terms of your purchase decision.

    I'm not sure this is useful for shig, hinoura, tf, kato etc...those guys are all famous for their product designs in their own right

    In addition, you can have knives made by "certified crafstman" that vary in quality...
    both by the same smith, but one is pre-fab laminate...not so "traditional"..etc
    (see: konosuke fujiyama evolution)

    again, the OP's question was more about why these cman-names are not "hyped" on KKF,
    and I went through why I thought this was not really a good way of looking at it.

    But don't take a 30k foot overview and try to use it for parking directions...
    that's not the purpose of my answer...

    Also, there is nothing to stop someone who wants to give a granular, detailed, 100%
    technically correct and very specific answer from doing so...

    Hope this helps clarify.

     
  15. Jul 13, 2019 at 10:56 PM #15

    HRC_64

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    T Hinoura
     
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  16. Jul 14, 2019 at 12:15 AM #16

    osakajoe

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    I was also 7 strong high balls, one tequila shot, and three beers deep when I wrote that lol
     
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  17. Jul 14, 2019 at 12:39 AM #17

    ojisan

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    If you are interested in this kind of titles, Oujuhoushou is another award you might been interested in. Oujuhoushou is a medal given by the emperor to those who achieved something great in their business.
    Some of dentoukougeishi in the knife industry have this medal.

    But like dentoukougeishi, when this medal is given to someone, he or she is most likely already well-known or popular in the industry.

    Kato (Hiromu)-san, Iidsuka-san (shugefusa) and Hinoura-san are dentoukougeishi.
    Kurosaki Yu-san became a dentoukougeishi recently.
    I guess TF cannot be a dentoukougeishi because knife making in Tokyo is not recognized as "dentoukougei".
     
  18. Jul 14, 2019 at 1:08 AM #18

    ojisan

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    When you visit Tokyo, stop by Dentou Kougei Square at Aoyama if you interested in Dentoukiugei. You can find a lot of hand created traditional items there.

    Ikeda-san gives sharpening lessons and sell events once or twice a year (it's a rare chance to get Sakai Hokushin knives in Tokyo).
     
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  19. Jul 14, 2019 at 3:13 AM #19

    aboynamedsuita

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  20. Jul 14, 2019 at 5:37 AM #20

    Gregmega

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    Then what was the purpose of your answer? You’ve still literally added zero to this otherwise very interesting topic. *you literally said ‘it’s a Sakai thing’, but we won’t take you too literally I guess.

    And Kurosaki iirc was the youngest dento to be inducted, the pics of his acceptance are brilliant, if you have the time to look. He looks as though his last night is about to spill out of his face. Classic.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 5:48 AM
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  21. Jul 14, 2019 at 6:51 AM #21

    HRC_64

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    Sorry not to spoon feed you every step of the way...

    Sakai
    Sanjo
    Eichizen

     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 7:21 AM
  22. Jul 14, 2019 at 7:32 AM #22

    HRC_64

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    In case that was too cryptic...a couple more comments

    Many of the sakai craftsman we think of were awarde this 10-20 years before it was more widespread to other areas
    eg...sanjo makers had this only after 2011/12 timeframe... based on the database I saw

    Again, my earlier summary is just my opinion on why this isn't a that big a focal point for KKF
    shig was making knifes without this for 57 years...so its not that important vis-a-vis other things.

    James comes to a similar conclusion (with I'm sure more accurate commentary),
    pls read his note if you guys are interested ...
     
  23. Jul 14, 2019 at 9:23 AM #23

    ojisan

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    I agree that this title is not always important.

    Note that echigo-sanjo-uchi-hamono was recognized as a dentou-kougei by the government in 2009 so before this nobody in Sanjo could get this title technically.

    Echizen-uchi-hamono is much older (recognized since 1978, while Sakai since 1982) and Saji-san at Echizen got the title in 1997 for example.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 10:07 AM
  24. Jul 14, 2019 at 1:03 PM #24
  25. Jul 14, 2019 at 7:17 PM #25

    Kippington

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    I get a kick out of watching videos where (master) smiths use one of their own kitchen knives, only to display just how little skill they have at using what they've created!
     
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  26. Jul 15, 2019 at 6:01 AM #26

    Carl Kotte

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    Any examples you would care to share?
     
  27. Jul 15, 2019 at 6:22 AM #27

    Kippington

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    Sure. This made me cringe, not so much his technique but the resulting cuts.
     
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  28. Jul 15, 2019 at 6:37 AM #28

    Carl Kotte

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    Ajajaj
     
  29. Jul 15, 2019 at 6:52 AM #29

    Carl Kotte

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    The resulting cuts are really of all different sizes and shapes. But the way he struggles with the carrots makes me turn my eyes away. Not much cutting, more pushing and leaning, there
     
  30. Jul 15, 2019 at 7:18 AM #30

    Kippington

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    Yep, he also accordions the radish.

    Here's another example, at 18:30.

    One could make the argument that you don't need knife skills to make a good knife, which is probably true, but it's still funny to watch them attempt to understand how their creation should be used.
     
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