Japanese chefs are modern days samurai
"Japanese chefs believe our soul goes into our knives once we start using it” by this quote Masaharu Morimoto started his interview with Sky History magazine.
Masharu Morimoto is a Japanese chef best known for Iron chef a Japanese tv show and its spinoff iron chef America.
Japanese knives own a very unique reputation from a very long time, this reputation did emerge mainly because of the high value that Japanese people do put in for the chef’s and kitchen knives.
This high value is related to the heritage of the Japanese culture.
In the 12th century when the Heian period ended and the era of Samurai begun, the swordsmiths who did craft the samurai’s forbidding weapons also were able to craft hand forged knives.
When tobacco became popular in Japan that did i
ncrease the demand on well sharped knives that will be used to cut fresh leaves and shred the dried product that did result in more bladesmiths specializing in the Japanese sharp knife making, which
did enhance its fame.
The single side sharped knife did give a unique branding to the Ja
panese knives, mainly it was made this way due to the culture of the Japanese cuisine that needed a precise cut.
During an interview with the Business insider chef Masakazu Fujii while talking about Japanese knives he did mention that it is very useful how it cuts fish “you can see a shine on the cut” he said, if he used another knife his dishes won’t be the same because the cuts will be totally different.
The sharpen edge of a Japanese knives allow the chef to make a cut without any stress or pressure, the moisture is contained inside and it comes out when you bite inside your mouth, which allows for a very flavorful experience.
A restructure in the Japanese society did happen in the 19th century, 3 January 1868 was the day in which the Samurai era did fall because of the Meiji restoration.
Carrying swords in public is no longer allowed, a simple law that introduced us to one of the most useful and expensive kitchen knives in the modern days.
This restoration did affect the market for the swords that was mainly used by samurais, one special thing about Samurai swords is its light wight, it was made with soft iron in the inside then covered with hard steel from the outside.
This same technique is used in the Japanese knives.
Bladesmiths had to use their skills making something that is allowed to be used in order for them to profit, and the best choice for them was kitchen knives crafting.
This did cement the industry of Japanese knife making.
It’s the year 2021, Echizen a city that is from 700 years is famous for Japanese knives making.
Takamura Terukazu is in his father’s shop which he did inherit and is smithing in it since 1985, as kid he wanted to be a Rockstar, instead he’s forging the world’s best knives.
During his interview with the business insider you could feel the amount of respect and cherish Japanese knives do have in the Japanese cultural.
“The importance of a knife comes from the soul of the person using it, it’s my mother’s knife, it’s a Japanese knife” Takamura said these words.
Hammering, heating the metal, sharpening the edge and polishing the final blade are a few skills that could take a life time to master by a Japanese artisan.
In Takamura’s family factory each knife goes through a 100 production stage.
People come to his shop with knives that his grandfather made asking to sharpen them, this is how long you can use their knives for.
They say it takes 3 years to learn to hammer and a life time to learn to sharpen.
Sharpening is the most crucial stage of making the Japanese knife, as its sharp edge is its most important quality.
Sharpening the knife is being done using a grind stone that’s made of a natural rock that only could be found in Japan.
To have a customized knife from Takamura some might wait for 3 years.
So why Japanese knives are so expensive?
Well if it’s not for the skilled artisan who does forge it, or for the quality it gives, then maybe because it’s a final product of a very old and rich culture that is extended to this day.