Takefu knives?

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CiderBear

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Hi all,

I don't tend to see knives from Takefu makers discussed a lot here (perhaps we have a slight Sanjo bias). However, I'm quite interested in hearing your opinions on knives from smiths like Anryu, both Kurosaki's, Shiro Kamo, etc. If you have used their knives, what do you think of them?
 

Bcos17

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I have owned an Anryu hammered gyuto and a Kurosaki AS KU. Both were great performers and reasonably priced.
 

Elliot

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There is a bit of a narrative that these knives are of lower quality/craftsmanship. I am not sure I agree, though I will say my experience with them is limited. I have been told (by more than one source) that Takefu knife makers take a "path of least resistance" approach to knife making. Again, not necessarily my opinion. I just want to share all I have read, heard, been told, etc. Ultimately, I think one should make their own decisions on knives. These forums clearly provide A LOT, but I have purchased knives that are super highly regarded and not loved them. Personal taste is a far from irrelevant factor.

There is one knife I have currently that is from a Takefu maker. It may be the only one, so, again, others will provide more ammo. It's a Shibata Kotetsu petty knife and I think it is the shheeiiittt. It's R2 and a laser, so is a great combo for a petty knife IMO.

I had a Masakage Koishi Ko-Bunka at one point. I thought it was nice as well.
 

Jville

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The short answer is ive used/owned alll those knives and they are excellent. I cant go any further with the conversation until I get some coffee :).
 

Barclid

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Also worth thinking about; most people on this forum say "Takefu" and really just mean the makers of "Takefu Knife Village" which excludes many knife-makers in the immediate area which is also "Takefu". It would be like talking about Sakai Knives but only meaning knives produced under the name of, say, Konosuke.
 

CiderBear

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@Elliot that's really interesting to know. I didn't realize the narrative existed in the first place! I know that /r/chefknives on reddit loves those knives (mostly Masakage), but then again I don't find Masakage appealing. I have read that the Takefu makers specialize on different aspects of the knife making process, unlike Sanjo makers who tend to do everything A-Z by themselves. If that's the case, I wonder if there's much of a difference between a gyuto from Makoto Kurosaki, a Yu Kurosaki, and Anryu, for example.
 

CiderBear

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Also worth thinking about; most people on this forum say "Takefu" and really just mean the makers of "Takefu Knife Village" which excludes many knife-makers in the immediate area which is also "Takefu". It would be like talking about Sakai Knives but only meaning knives produced under the name of, say, Konosuke.
That's true, when I think of Takefu I only think of guys in the Takefu Knife Village. What are some other notable makers not part of the cooperative?
 

Elliot

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@Elliot that's really interesting to know. I didn't realize the narrative existed in the first place! I know that /r/chefknives on reddit loves those knives (mostly Masakage), but then again I don't find Masakage appealing. I have read that the Takefu makers specialize on different aspects of the knife making process, unlike Sanjo makers who tend to do everything A-Z by themselves. If that's the case, I wonder if there's much of a difference between a gyuto from Makoto Kurosaki, a Yu Kurosaki, and Anryu, for example.
Don't get me wrong. . . I am not one of those people who think only Shigefusa and Kato make good knives or that it has to be a "unicorn" or cost more than $500 to be good. I love the hell outta that Kotetsu petty.

Now, all that being said, if I wanted another semi-budget knife in the price range of most of those makers at the Takefu Village, I am more likely to buy a Wakui, a Tanaka or even a Munetoshi.
 

Barclid

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That's true, when I think of Takefu I only think of guys in the Takefu Knife Village. What are some other notable makers not part of the cooperative?
Ryusen Hamono, Takamura Hamono, Takeshi Saji.
 
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GorillaGrunt

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Takamuras kick a__, by all accounts so do Ryusens. Sanjo is trending right know like Sakai did some time ago, but I tried and rejected a bunch of Sakai lasers in favor of the Shibata Kashima. The one Makoto I’ve handled was an excellent knife — also note that personally, I could list off a bunch of Sanjo or Sakai makers but didn’t even have an association in my mind between the Kurosakis, Takamura, etc. and their location in Takefu.
 

ojisan

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They are not bad at all.

What's interesting is that Sanjo is not so popular in the Japanese market. Shigefusa is an exception and Hinoura-san is known well too. But Mazaki-san is not known at all. Takefu has more presence in the Japanese market IMO.

I love my Takamura and Fujishita.
 

JoBone

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I think the collective nature of many of the craftsman in that area creates an atmosphere where the blacksmiths and sharpeners can produce better knives at a lower cost than others knives at the same budget. Being a collective, they tend to learn from each other, so the better features rise up and become the norm. In a more isolated environment, the learning process is not as conducive for rapid expansion and evolution.

I also think that the popularity and awesomeness of Katos and Shigefusas add value and prestige to the sites that sell them and the regions that produce them. This value-add may or may not carry over to the actual performance of those other brands.

In addition to my Shigs (don’t have a Kato yet), I really love my Anryus and Kurosakis as much or more than other my knives of similar budget.

Okay, knives like taste-buds,are personal and we all have our preferences that may or may not be shared with others.
 
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bahamaroot

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There is a bit of a narrative that these knives are of lower quality/craftsmanship...
I can't say that I'm familiar with or ever got the impression of this narrative. There is definitely a "group" around here that are not fans of knives from this region but that seems to be more personal preference and nothing to do with quality.
I personally own a few and have used several other Takefu knives and they were all very good knives for their price points. Have a couple in my sights to get at some point.
 
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CiderBear

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What are some notable characteristics of gyutos from Takefu village? I notice that they have many AS options, and the choil looks really rounded, perhaps a bit sharp, but again I'm just basing this on internet photos
 

inferno

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I dont think you can draw any conclusions just a because a knife was made in a certain region imo.

I have 4 kurosaki knives. that i all handpicked in a store. and they are all very nice.
He makes them differently now and i dont like the new design.

I also have 2 from sanjo, hinouras, AS and White 2. they are neither better nor worse than the kurosakis.
 

Nemo

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Nothin' wrong with Tafeku knives. I have experience with Ryusen, Shiro Kamo and Kurosaki. All perform well, even if quite different from Sanjo knives.
 

Michi

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I have two Takeshi Saji rainbow Damascus (Bunka and Nakiri), and just sold a Kurosaki Fujin VG10 Damascus Santoku. All very good knives, IMO. The Kurosaki is quite thin behind the edge; not quite a laser, but definitely goes through hard stuff very cleanly.
 

osakajoe

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There is one knife I have currently that is from a Takefu maker. It may be the only one, so, again, others will provide more ammo. It's a Shibata Kotetsu petty knife and I think it is the shheeiiittt. It's R2 and a laser, so is a great combo for a petty knife IMO.

I had a Masakage Koishi Ko-Bunka at one point. I thought it was nice as well.
Shibata is not out of Takefu....last time I checked I think he’s in Hiroshima or somewhere near there.

He’s a basic re-sharpener turned knife retailer. He and another guy (who dropped out awhile back) formed the Masakage to help promote his brand and those craftsman he brought into the group. This also allows him to write a bunch of stuff about himself without looking like it was him lol

I’m pretty sure it’s a great knife as it looks just like my R2 laser out of Tosa (Kochi) which is a huge OEM area. But again not a Takefu knife.
 

Xenif

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@Elliot that's really interesting to know. I didn't realize the narrative existed in the first place! I know that /r/chefknives on reddit loves those knives (mostly Masakage), but then again I don't find Masakage appealing. I have read that the Takefu makers specialize on different aspects of the knife making process, unlike Sanjo makers who tend to do everything A-Z by themselves. If that's the case, I wonder if there's much of a difference between a gyuto from Makoto Kurosaki, a Yu Kurosaki, and Anryu, for example.
I just stumbled onto /r the other day, lets just say the level of knife-fu here at KKF is on a vastly different dimension, and thus, have different pov/taste in knives. I do agree that KKF is very pro-sanjo though.
 

Cyrilix

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The only Takefu knife I have is a Takamura. Part of their charm is that they focus exclusively on stainless steel, so I expect them to have a whole lot of expertise in stainless steel. The other guys have made a bit of everything, so intuitively, I figure that Takamura is going to have a lot more depth when it comes to the best way to do stainless, particularly R2.
 

Brian Weekley

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I think JoBone really said it when he wrote “Okay, knives like taste-buds,are personal and we all have our preferences that may or may not be shared with others.”

I own knives from most of the Takefu Village Knife Smiths as well as many others. My understanding of the Takefu Knife Village is that it was established by masters to draw novices into the art ... I hesitate to call it a “trade”. Some of the novices, Kurosaki and others are well on their way to being masters in their own right. I like Anryu’s knives a lot. I own most of his knives and can’t help but observe that they are vastly better than the knives used in 99.5% on North American and European households today. Think of that! If you can own, maintain and use an Anryu knife you are superior to 99.99999999% of every billionaire in the world today.

I tend not to prefer knives that I don’t use. Unicorns have little appeal to me. I like reactive blades. There probably isn’t a single Hollywood “A lister” who knows what a reactive blade is much less how to care for it! ... sorry Brad ... sorry Leonardo ... you suck!

A book was published by Kevin Kent this year that deals mostly with Takefu Knife Village smiths. It’s a hard cover sold by Amazon. I’ll include a pic.

There is a chain of Japanese Knife Stores in Canada owned by him called Knifewear. They mostly stock knives from Takefu smiths. Credit to Knifewear but when dealing with them ymmv. They once suggested that I should celebrate buying a Kurosaki sujihiki by using it to make tacos .... huuuuuh? They also said that they didn’t handle Murray Carters knives because “he didn’t make Japanese knives” double .... huuuuuh?
 

JoBone

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Shibata is not out of Takefu....last time I checked I think he’s in Hiroshima or somewhere near there.

.
From what I understand, most Shibata’s knives are smithed by Ikeda in Takefu, who apprenticed under Anryu.
 

StephenYu

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I have had a two Kurosaki, a Masakage Shimo and an AS, I also currently own a Takamura Hana and a KnS Yugumo.

Personally, there are two things I don’t like about Takefu. First is that most of their blades are made from prelaminated billets. Doesn’t make it bad, just feeling it lacks a little “craftsmanship”.
Second thing is the heat treatment is not optimal. For instance the AS from Takefu village is around 62 hrc while the TF Denka is around 66 hrc. That’s why they are priced so differently.

Many forum members here also enjoy a workhorse. While most knives from Takefu are light and nimble.

But I still use my Yugumo regularly, the handle feels amazing ;)
 

osakajoe

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From what I understand, most Shibata’s knives are smithed by Ikeda in Takefu, who apprenticed under Anryu.
Nope.

His main knives are the Kotetsu. Definitely not. Even if other knives are smithed by him, He doesn’t sharpen them. He’s not an actual grinding craftsman

First is that most of their blades are made from prelaminated billets. Doesn’t make it bad, just feeling it lacks a little “craftsmanship”.
Second thing is the heat treatment is not optimal. For instance the AS from Takefu village is around 62 hrc while the TF Denka is around 66 hrc. That’s why they are priced so
Most knives forged in Japan (excluding a lot of single bevels from Sakai) are forged from billets. For the sake of this thread 95% of Takefu is. Why you hate it is why I prefer a cab vs you prefer a Pinot.

I’ll agree with Takefu and their heat treatment of powder steel.
 
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CiderBear

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Really good discussions so far, thank you everyone.

Sanjo knives tend to have dramatic distal tapers. Are there similar characteristics of Takefu knives (or the region in general)?
 

Brian Weekley

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I couldn’t agree more with Stephen. It’s all part of the process of moving from aspirant to student to novice to journeyman to master. Many makers at differing skills and abilities with a common thread of learning and moving forward. I too am not a fan of prelaminated blades. It seems to me that it moves the blades closer to factory manufactured blades. Have a close look at a Myabi Black Knife. 131 layers, 66-67 HRC, immaculate finishing, wonderful to use and absolutely no character. You could buy a thousand Black blades all identically the same. Just like a Swiss Army knife. It seems to me that forge welding a blade guarantees that every knife made is different. Dripping with character. Much easier to buy a prelaminated blank, trace a pattern and start from there. Still not easy ... but easier. The trend to stainless knives seems to encourage this prelaminated trend. According to Murray Carter it takes a million dollars of equipment to laminate stainless steel to a hard carbon core. All makers can be excused from making such an investment. If the public demands stainless knives, makers will make stainless and probably happily bid goodbye to forge welding blades. Fully reactive blades will probably slowly disappear along with the forge welding skills to make them. The point ... if it’s important to you, keep buying fully reactive blades. If you do the novices at Takefu Village will learn to forge weld blades.
 

Barclid

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Nope.

His main knives are the Kotetsu. Definitely not. Even if other knives are smithed by him, He doesn’t sharpen them. He’s not an actual grinding craftsman



Most knives forged in Japan (excluding a lot of single bevels from Sakai) are forged from billets. For the sake of this thread 95% of Takefu is. Why you hate it is why I prefer a cab vs you prefer a Pinot.

I’ll agree with Takefu and their heat treatment of powder steel.
Who are you quoting on the powder steel? Because the quote in your post is referencing Aogami Super.
 

WPerry

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Much easier to buy a prelaminated blank, trace a pattern and start from there.
This makes it sound as if they're simply cutting and grinding; I was under the impression that prelam blanks were more like bars - thick, short and and narrow - that then see considerable hammer forging before having a profile traced and cut.
 
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