Konosuke Fujiyama; A History

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soigne_west

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From Bernals site on the YM

"Slightly different than the original Fujiyama knives, which became difficult to get, the new Fujiyama YM series is done by new craftspeople but is still done with excellent quality forging, grinding and superb finish work. They are hand forged by the son of Tanaka-san, the original Fujiyama smith, in Sakai city, Japan. His work is excellent. They are ground by a sharpener who has been working in Sakai for decades and has started working with Konosuke on these new Fujiyama series. "
 

Kitchenchem

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This was the response:
“Thank you for your inquiry.

YM knives are forged by Fujiyama blacksmith (Tanaka)'s son who is practicing.

Sharpened by Myojin (FM sharpener).
He's also practicing single bevel knives.

With these reasons, we're providing at a lower price than the regular
Fujiyama price.”

I bought the one from Bernal Cutlery.
Anxious to see what it’s like.
 

josemartinlopez

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A well traveled chef friend gave me a passing comment that he sees Konosuke as an export oriented brand and is arguably more popular in the USA than in Japan (at least for certain types of knives under the brand). I imagine there is a context to that comment. Might anyone know what he meant, especially members in Japan?
 

bahamaroot

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I would assume he was saying that Kosuke designs knives geared toward the user in the west because of a higher demand and/or profit margin in the export market.
 

Omega

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@josemartinlopez So, as I understand it from speaking with Kosuke, and members of Tosho Knife Arts staff- from very early on the North American distributors started buying all the stock that Konosuke could produce (especially ToGo). To a point where Kosuke didn't have any stock even to sell in Japan.

If you ever visit Konosuke / Kaneshige, Kosuke actually built a gallery in which they planned to sell knives even locally.. but they are so slammed with orders, they gave up on it.

So there's truth to the statement, "Konosuke is more an export company" if only because they've never had stock with which to court Japanese retailers.

That's certainly not for lack of interest though- on my last visit to Japan, multiple Japanese shops let me know that they didn't currently have stock of Konosuke, but that they're trying to become dealers, because of the sheer volume of requests they get from International customers that stop through.
 

EShin

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I can second Omega's opinion. If you want to get a Konosuke in Japan, you have to contact them directly, which is not because they wouldn't sell in Japan or because they were designed for Western customers and don't really match the people's needs here, but because their capacities are already exhausted by distributors from abroad. Even if you visit them, they probably won't have more than just a couple of knives in the small and beautiful showroom. That's also the reason why they were never established as a famous brand in Japan. At the same time, you might want to know that many brands only became famous in Japan after they were discovered abroad. It might be surprising at first, but almost all people here including chefs don't really care much about knives anyway, but just get what they were recommended by their seniors or what was advertised, without having any idea about steels etc.
 

tgfencer

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It might be surprising at first, but almost all people here including chefs don't really care much about knives anyway, but just get what they were recommended by their seniors or what was advertised, without having any idea about steels etc.
I mean that shouldn't really be all that surprising to folks. After all, most home cooks/chefs/pros in almost all countries around the world use cheap and readily available knives and often just go by their coworkers/boss recommendations.

Not a dig at you good sir, just a good reminder of the knife bubble we all live in. Interesting stuff about Konosuke.
 

EShin

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I mean that shouldn't really be all that surprising to folks. After all, most home cooks/chefs/pros in almost all countries around the world use cheap and readily available knives and often just go by their coworkers/boss recommendations.

Not a dig at you good sir, just a good reminder of the knife bubble we all live in. Interesting stuff about Konosuke.
Very much so. It's just that many people would assume that people here in Japan would know a lot about their traditions and culture, which obviously isn't necessarily the case. Actually, not many Japanese know about the knife forging tradition at all.

In order to make some contribution to the thread itself, I'll attach some recent pictures of the showroom. I'm sorry they're not very good, but they might be of interest to some people here anyway.

By the way, the sharpener of the FT Fujiyama series is still undisclosed und probably won't be disclosed. I read somewhere that it is Shosui Takeda, but this information is false.
 

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jacko9

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I for one am thankful that retailers like Tosho and ToGo recognized the quality of product being produced at Konosuke and committed to buy all they make. I remember these retailers telling the folks at Konosuke to start charging more if that would provide incentive to their craftsmen to produce more. I know That I enjoy using the three Fujiyama's I have.
 

Dan E

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I’ve been wondering why the new FM white 2‘s Bernal is offering haven’t sold „as fast“ as the Tosho ones — after reading all the posts here, and considering the price differences between tosho and Bernal, is it safe to say that tosho (they only had a white 1) was Tanaka while Bernal sells the one made just Tanaka‘s son?

If so — is there any benchmark out there how similar / different in grind and quality they are? I don’t have a Fuji yet but have been contemplating last night to order.


Edit — maybe I was overthinking and the price difference (roughly 100 USD) comes from the handle. The Bernal one seems basic, tosho had a fancier one. Still interested in inputs from the more knowledgeable crowd here :)
 
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Omega

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I’ve been wondering why the new FM white 2‘s Bernal is offering haven’t sold „as fast“ as the Tosho ones — after reading all the posts here, and considering the price differences between tosho and Bernal, is it safe to say that tosho (they only had a white 1) was Tanaka while Bernal sells the one made just Tanaka‘s son?

If so — is there any benchmark out there how similar / different in grind and quality they are? I don’t have a Fuji yet but have been contemplating last night to order.


Edit — maybe I was overthinking and the price difference (roughly 100 USD) comes from the handle. The Bernal one seems basic, tosho had a fancier one. Still interested in inputs from the more knowledgeable crowd here :)
No- to my knowledge, none of the FM are forged by Tanaka's son. Konosuke has a line that Tanaka's son forges (the YM or something??)
The White 2 at Bernal should be the exact same (within handmade tolerances) with respect to heel heigh and grind as the FMs that Tosho got.

As far as prices? White 2 is cheaper than White 1 and Blue 1. Also, I think the dollar is stronger vs yen, compared to CAD vs yen. That plays into things. (I'll admit I haven't looked in the past few weeks though; so feel free to correct me) Also handle selection- Tosho looks like they had the nice ebony handles with black horn on their White 1. These from Bernal have the ho-wood handles with wood ferrule. There's your major price differential right there. All of Konosuke's handles are nice- but those ebony ones for sure cost more.

Just ask Brett about those ebony handles ;D
 

Jason183

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Hi, I just saw your reply in that Ginsan knife thread, I don’t want to keep bumping that thread since it’s sold:

“As far as the Fujiyama-style (Wide Bevel) Ginsan: they were sharpened by two sharpeners. Morihiro, and the 'Taka' sharpener [Kawakita]. I've never been told the reason as to why they'd go back and forth between the sharpeners, just that it did.
Whenever asked about these knives (the Ginsan) in the past, Kosuke has usually said you can tell whether the knife is Morihiro or 'Taka'/Kawakita by the engraved Kanji. If it has 3 characters, it's Kawakita. If it has 4 characters, its Morihiro. As taken directly from a Kosuke email:
The knives of this series were forged by Shiraki, sharpened by Kawakita, and had the engraving just “幸之祐” (Konosuke) without “堺” (Sakai)”

I’m wondering what’s special about Morihiro’s wide bevel sharpening? Is it the grind(more convex, flat or concave), or because he is the original creator of wide bevel gyuto? It seems knifes sharpened by him are more sought after?
 
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Dan E

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No- to my knowledge, none of the FM are forged by Tanaka's son. Konosuke has a line that Tanaka's son forges (the YM or something??)
The White 2 at Bernal should be the exact same (within handmade tolerances) with respect to heel heigh and grind as the FMs that Tosho got.

As far as prices? White 2 is cheaper than White 1 and Blue 1. Also, I think the dollar is stronger vs yen, compared to CAD vs yen. That plays into things. (I'll admit I haven't looked in the past few weeks though; so feel free to correct me) Also handle selection- Tosho looks like they had the nice ebony handles with black horn on their White 1. These from Bernal have the ho-wood handles with wood ferrule. There's your major price differential right there. All of Konosuke's handles are nice- but those ebony ones for sure cost more.

Just ask Brett about those ebony handles ;D

You are right -- FM seems to be mate by Tanaka himself still. And my stupidity was punished as the FM white was available when I asked the question and sold out when I realized that it was not made by his son..
 

jedy617

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Hey guys, got my first Konosuke Fujiyama in and I'm very excited for it. It's a blue 2, 210mm. I believe this is the CKTG version as it has Kanji on it. Can anyone help with the Kanji BTW on the right and left side? I'm guessing one side says konosuke Sakai, and the other is blue 2?

Don't mind the scratches for now...last owner roughed it up a bit on the flats and I'm going to try my best to restore it or maybe send it out. What grit sandpaper would you start with? Maybe 800? Thanks!



konosuke3.jpg
konosuke2.jpg
konosuke.jpg
 

Jason183

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Hey guys, got my first Konosuke Fujiyama in and I'm very excited for it. It's a blue 2, 210mm. I believe this is the CKTG version as it has Kanji on it. Can anyone help with the Kanji BTW on the right and left side? I'm guessing one side says konosuke Sakai, and the other is blue 2?

Don't mind the scratches for now...last owner roughed it up a bit on the flats and I'm going to try my best to restore it or maybe send it out. What grit sandpaper would you start with? Maybe 800? Thanks!



View attachment 126565View attachment 126566View attachment 126567
You’re right, right side of the blade is the “Konosuke” Kanji, left side is the “blue 2”
 

ModRQC

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Hey guys, got my first Konosuke Fujiyama in and I'm very excited for it. It's a blue 2, 210mm. I believe this is the CKTG version as it has Kanji on it. Can anyone help with the Kanji BTW on the right and left side? I'm guessing one side says konosuke Sakai, and the other is blue 2?

Don't mind the scratches for now...last owner roughed it up a bit on the flats and I'm going to try my best to restore it or maybe send it out. What grit sandpaper would you start with? Maybe 800? Thanks!



View attachment 126565View attachment 126566View attachment 126567
You'll need to start lower if you want to cover the worse of these. P400 is probably too high still. Best would be to begin with something like 180-220, then 320-400, then 600-800.

Even better, use a low-med stone as a starter and pick it up with the highest grit sandpaper that is efficient from there towards a mirror-like polish, or further stones towards a kasumi.
 

jedy617

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You'll need to start lower if you want to cover the worse of these. P400 is probably too high still. Best would be to begin with something like 180-220, then 320-400, then 600-800.

Even better, use a low-med stone as a starter and pick it up with the highest grit sandpaper that is efficient from there towards a mirror-like polish, or further stones towards a kasumi.
Got it, hard to know what the exact grit finish was stock. Thanks for the advice!
 

ModRQC

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The fine scratches on the unit won't be difficult. However I see on the right side under the kanji some deeper scuffs that will be a PITA even with P400 sandpaper.

I know for a fact that anywhere from Cerax #700 to Imanishi 1200, covering these would go quite swiftly with a good polishing stone. Mud is quite efficient to cover stuff up. Its own scratch pattern is more readily picked up, buffed or erased.
 

jedy617

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The fine scratches on the unit won't be difficult. However I see on the right side under the kanji some deeper scuffs that will be a PITA even with P400 sandpaper.

I know for a fact that anywhere from Cerax #700 to Imanishi 1200, covering these would go quite swiftly with a good polishing stone. Mud is quite efficient to cover stuff up. Its own scratch pattern is more readily picked up, buffed or erased.
Right before anyone replied, I already got a decent amount of the swirls out with 1000 grit paper. Probably should have started lower but I didn't want to really rough up the finish, we'll see maybe I will go back for the deeper stuff or just leave it.

For polishing on stones do you just lie the knife flat with the tip facing north? The scratch pattern goes vertically from ferrule to tip so to match that I think I have to go in that orientation as opposite to normal sharpening with the heel facing north to the front of the stone correct?
 

ModRQC

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Well if you intend to solely use stones, then your direction isn't THAT important, in that you will work the same with each anyhow and follow it. If you want fully horizontal, sandpaper is best. Don't worry so much about "roughing up". P180 soft backing won't be so aggressive, use a steady but not forceful pressure, and work on having a nice even coverage. As soon as you'll step up in grits, you'll be able to see the pattern clear quite readily. But under direct light, I find sandpaper to be a bit less forgiving than mud is all. Swirls and stray scratches will just show through if you're not especially careful. The best trick is to alternate direction, however not so obvious to do if you can't remove the handle.
 

jedy617

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Well if you intend to solely use stones, then your direction isn't THAT important, in that you will work the same with each anyhow and follow it. If you want fully horizontal, sandpaper is best. Don't worry so much about "roughing up". P180 soft backing won't be so aggressive, use a steady but not forceful pressure, and work on having a nice even coverage. As soon as you'll step up in grits, you'll be able to see the pattern clear quite readily. But under direct light, I find sandpaper to be a bit less forgiving than mud is all. Swirls and stray scratches will just show through if you're not especially careful. The best trick is to alternate direction, however not so obvious to do if you can't remove the handle.
Appreciate the helpful info. Yeah was a little concerned with the handle if I was doing it vertically on the stones. I have a natural stone from JKI and some fingerstones coming soon. I think I will start again at a lower grit, work a bit more, finish around 1500 and then maybe do a polishing with my natural stone when it gets here and try to make the kasumi a bit nicer.
 

ModRQC

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Finger stones will help a lot too. Good luck with the project. Worst case scenario: you'll learn from your work/mistakes and do it better next time. Also getting to know along the way what level of polish you personally find satisfying enough. Knife is a tool, scratches are natural outcome, and especially with this iron cladded Carbon, patina will come to hide most of the stuff.
 

jedy617

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Finger stones will help a lot too. Good luck with the project. Worst case scenario: you'll learn from your work/mistakes and do it better next time. Also getting to know along the way what level of polish you personally find satisfying enough. Knife is a tool, scratches are natural outcome, and especially with this iron cladded Carbon, patina will come to hide most of the stuff.
Yep, I have refinished my zkramer and a running man forge nakiri and learned a lot, finishing wasn't the absolute best, but patina did hide most of it. I'm trying to be a bit more delicate with the finishing on this guy. Worst comes to worst I'll use it for awhile and have it finished professionaly, but I think I can do a good enough job myself hopefully.
 

jedy617

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Welp I'm not super experienced yet and it didn't come out perfect, but I think it's a significant improvement after a few hours of work, what do we think?

Before:
before.jpg



before1.jpg



After:



after3.jpg


after2.jpg


after1.jpg
 

ModRQC

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Take less sunny pictures of the after to reproduce light settings of the before. ;) When it shines it always looks nice. I seem to distinguish improvment though.
 
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