Speculation on who are Hitohira's hidden craftspeople

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by Cyrilix, May 13, 2019.

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  1. May 13, 2019 #1

    Cyrilix

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    This is really just a speculation thread to make us feel better about who the makers might be.

    Let's start off with Kikuchiyo.

    From what I know, this person is known for making honyakis. This person also supposedly started producing knives at a young age.

    My guess is Yoshikazu Ikeda.
     
  2. May 13, 2019 #2

    dwalker

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    This can't possibly go well.
     
  3. May 13, 2019 #3

    Badgertooth

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    Lol... I’m not sure even Hitohira has too tight a handle on this as they have been fairly regularly dropping the ball on info about some of the honyaki makers. A retailer in Portland took a complete kicking on IG for simply passing on the info that Hitohira had provided him which blatantly contradicted Hitohira’s previous assertions about the knife. Ditto, more recently, they had to publicly correct some info about a knife which may have been pretty material to whoever ended up buying it.
    It’s a super cool idea but they seem to get themselves in a tangle managing it
     
  4. May 14, 2019 #4

    valgard

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    don't forget the seat belt before the ride starts
     
  5. May 14, 2019 #5

    Cyrilix

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    This is supposed to be a fun thread guys. I might even learn a thing or two about new under the radar craftsmen.

    @Badgertooth I saw that incident, quite honestly, don't know what to think about it.
     
  6. May 14, 2019 #6

    Chicagohawkie

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    The hidden craftsmen are really the guys who make Fords on Monday’s! Are they still pumping out all those Kono knockoffs?
     
  7. May 14, 2019 #7

    Cyrilix

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    Hopefully they've learned a lot from the school of Konosuke and are now making identical copies!
     
  8. May 14, 2019 #8

    Chicagohawkie

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    Agghhhhh, they’ve brought in the Kono Keebler Elves to give up the recipe.
     
  9. May 14, 2019 #9

    Nemo

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    The problem with speculation is that it only needs to pass from one conversation to another a few times before it becomes purported as "fact". Which seems to annoy the hell out of many who work in the Japanese knife industry.
     
  10. May 14, 2019 #10

    Chicagohawkie

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    Come out and be fourth right about things, problem solved!
     
  11. May 14, 2019 #11
  12. May 14, 2019 #12

    dwalker

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    Sounds too reasonable to actually work. The traditional Japanese knife business model might be a bit antiquated for today's digital market. Information is shared instantly. What if we found out that one vendor's $600 knife is another vendor's $350 knife under a different name? Chaos would ensue. There would be many put out customers.

    It is a problem, but it is one that the Japanese knife industry has chosen for itself. It cannot continue this way indefinitely. Change is inevitable. Unfortunately, it is the retail vendors that have really taken care of their customers for a long time that will be harmed the most. It is a matter of time before direct sales from the craftsmen is the norm. The more savvy tradesmen have already gone there while many of them still continue to service their retailers. The biggest obstacle to selling direct to the global consumer is the language barrier, a problem that technology has all but eliminated.

    I don't know how I feel about what the market will be in 5 or 10 years. I appreciate the service and support I've received from the vendors I've used and will continue to work with them as long as it makes sense for me. There are few problems with kitchen knives that I cannot remedy myself with reasonable effort at this point. I wish the best for all parties but there is a reason why Amazon is destroying small businesses. It is responding to the global market in a way which other businesses are forced to take notice.

    As I write this, I realize that I don't like it one bit. Unfortunately, I also realize that what I like and don't like will have little impact on the way the Japanese knife market conducts itself in the future. It will inevitably respond to consumer demand as all industries eventually do. I'm not sure we will all be better off.........we'll see.
     
  13. May 14, 2019 #13

    Chicagohawkie

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    I totally agree, was kinda poking fun at the whole thing. I sometimes think about a south park episode on the whole Japanese knife industry..... “The Mystery of ..........”
     
  14. May 14, 2019 #14

    Cyrilix

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    I just had a revelation. Have any of you ever heard of Yamatsuka-san making honyaki knives?
     
  15. May 14, 2019 #15

    Barclid

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  16. May 14, 2019 #16

    lemeneid

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    It’s just like identifying the craftsmen making Mizuno knives. You’ll never know
     
  17. May 14, 2019 #17
    I am a bit tired of these discussions, but there is nothing wrong with them per se. Everyone is entitled to believe what they want to believe. I personally would only put my full trust to whatever was engraved on the blade if I have seen the knife being forged and ground in person - with a few exceptions. I tend to trust people who have direct contact and make a clear distinction between what they can share and what not. One should not only listen to what they say, but also to what the do not say. And do not try to interpret what was said between the lines because something there is nothing.

    Trying to believe the half truths does leave to a romanticism which by itself is nice - as long as someone else does not burst your bubble. And it is funny - even the information that is available here on KKF in plain sight will still be ignored because people do not want to hear it. The dark side is that some around here misuse that and sell 'one off' and 'special' knives they got somewhere in Japan and either lie about the product, or conveniently use the half-truths they have been said (even though they know that there were most likely not true).

    With that said - I am not sure how much would I trust Hitohira. Nothing specific, just a gut feel.

    But at least most users around here moved on from thinking that one single master does all the work for a whole brand - especially when it comes to grinding.
     
  18. May 14, 2019 #18

    M1k3

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    Trolls
     
  19. May 14, 2019 #19

    osakajoe

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    lol let me bite and say

    If you think Japanese knife makers are going to change to direct sales anytime soon, you know nothing of how things work.
     
  20. May 14, 2019 #20

    Xenif

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    KKF is awesome, taking a half troll thread and turn it into decent conversion about future of the Japanese knife market. Then again Im just waiting for when it becomes another Watanayama thread.

    Thought experiment: You goto an italian restaurant with an italian name and a good reputation. They never disclosed who the head chef was, speculation is that its a bunch of italian nonnas in the back. You tasted the food, it was delicious and with your limited experience believe it to be as authentic as the "real deal" one would expect from an italian nonna. Then later when you pass the kitchen, you realize the entire kitchen staff was either Chinese or Sri Lankan.
    1)Do you feel the food was less italian?
    2)Do you feel you have been lied to?
    3)Do you feel the food is now less tasty?
    4)Do you feel you know nothing about italian food?
    5)Will you go back?
     
  21. May 14, 2019 #21

    ThinMan

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    The knives I have purchased from Hitohira are both really really good (Tanaka Blue #1 Ku and Tanaka x Kyuzo). I have no reason to doubt their good faith. By using the invented names, they are not misrepresenting anything to anyone.
     
  22. May 14, 2019 #22
    I did not imply that they do not sell quality products. I just said I would not necessarily trust their information when it comes to craftsmen.
     
  23. May 14, 2019 #23

    HRC_64

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    At one stage I thought it was just a kid placing orders at Tsubaya, Morihiro and other Shops and putting boxes in the EMS to post to Westerners. Problably getting 10% off the top as lead-generation fees...nothing wrong with that....nor particularly unique or mysterious either as a business model. Just making a buck or two and allowing some convenience for people outside of japan, not to mention saving hassle for non-english speaking retailers.
     
  24. May 14, 2019 #24

    chinacats

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    Who cares? ...does it cut well? .. if you want a knife from the person making it, "maybe" Heiji is your best bet (a year ago I'd of said Heiji or Watanabe;))...or just make something up and be just as likely to be right as the person who "knows" all these people...lol.
     
  25. May 14, 2019 #25

    Cyrilix

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    The more you know about knives, the more you care. I could've already stopped caring because I already have great "functional" knives, but why do I continue to spend money on "redundant" knives? I mean, I can already turn into small pieces, any kind of vegetable or protein you could possibly throw at me, but beyond that, I care about craftsmanship and the makers behind those knives. I know there isn't just one maker, there are smiths, sharpeners, finishers, handle makers, lacquer craftsmen. I would actually love to see all of those disclosed. I understand that in this current environment, that's a pipedream, but I'm a consumer, and consumers vote with their wallets. They can say, "because you're not telling me who made this, I won't buy it from you, or at least not at the price you're asking. I'm willing to take a risk on it if you charge less."

    That's how it works with me. Anyone that tries to sell me a $1000 knife with no indication of who made it won't be making that sale from me, not unless I can see it in person.
     
  26. May 14, 2019 #26

    chinacats

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    The beauty in everyone being different...i know more about knives now than I've ever known and could care less. I do think it's interesting but seems nobody here (w few exceptions...Jon, a couple more) really knows half of what they think they know. It's a big part of what drives prices through the roof for somewhat marginal cutters... while some great knives go without notice...you guys please keep it going. BTW, who makes all those great Mizunos or KS's that people seem to love? For that matter who actually made all those Shigs people pay out their ass for? The old man while his kids stand around and watch? ;)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  27. May 14, 2019 #27

    labor of love

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    Oh yeah, in Maxims shig video you can see who’s doing what. Papa shig inspects the finished product and signs the kanji.
     
  28. May 14, 2019 #28

    HRC_64

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    This is a long way of saying you cannot tell the difference on your own :eek:
     
  29. May 14, 2019 #29

    Midsummer

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    Like...

    Its the image of the old man quietly inspecting everything that I find so appealing. I wonder how many knives he has seen...


    Hitohira maker of my knife is Tanaka. Cuts great...

    As to the identities behind the OP's question specifically about who manufactures the Kikuchiyo line; I can not comment.
     
  30. May 15, 2019 #30

    Cyrilix

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    Funny thing is, Tanaka lines are the only ones where the smith is named and pictured. All other lines are not. I wonder why this is the case.
     

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