Takefu Village – Echizen – Fukui Perfecture
“We are forging the beautiful sharpness”
It was in 1337 when Kuniyasu Chiyozuru, a master swordsmith from Kyoto, came to the area of Echizen, seeking water suitable for metalworking processes and started making swords and sickles for farmers. The history of the famous Echizen forged blades had just began. Local people started learning the techniques and then produce sickles, hatchets, and other bladed farming tools.
Takefu Knife Village nowadays is a cooperative association and consists of 12 knife companies where around 50 craftsmen work together to create great knives.
17 craftsmen among them are certificated from the state/country as the traditional craftsmen.
One unique aspect of Takefu Village is people from different generations work together where the youngest is 18-year-old, and the oldest, 80-year-old!
It was in the 1970s, when people started enjoying aging prosperity, after WWⅡ, and that was something that brought various changes in their lives as a result of the high economic growth and globalization.
In this flourishing period for Japan, the young craftsmen of Echizen and continuators of the Takefu Knife Village tradition faced a serious problem.
The continuous growth of cheap mass production knives as well as the spread of stainless steel in knives led the hand-made knife industries which were mostly small family businesses to go out of business.
A whole bunch of young craftsmen who were in their 20-30s’ at the time ( Katsuyasu Kamo, Katsushige Anryu, Hideo Kitaoka, Hiroshi Kato, Haruji Totani, Masanobu Okada, Shiro Kamo, Takeshi Saji, Kazuyoshi Honda, Late Masami Azai) were facing all kinds of serious problems such as sales slumping, aging of craftsmen, lack of successors, evennoise troubles with the neighborhood!
So, the took action and in 1973, they established the Takefu Forged Blade Industry Study Society, a society created to talk about the future of Echizen knife and find a breakthrough solution. Every night after their all day hard work, they gathered and talked about the problems and possible solutions.
The subsequent project after the establishment of TAKEFU KNIFE VILLAGE brand was to create the base for them. Even though they could complete new products, they still had worked separately in their own workshops and were so small, so they embarked on building for the new cooperative facility “TAKEFU KNIFE VILLAGE” to create more great Echizen knives and spread them throughout the world as well as training new generations.
In May of 1993, TAKEFU KNIFE VILLAGE was completed at last. A 300 million Yen project without any subsidies from the government
This was the beginning of a new era!
Nowadays in Takefu Knife Village, there is a factory that hosts 7 different companies that work together. Each company make not only their own product, but they also collaborate to create new products as “Takefu Knife Village”.
Source: Takefu Knife Village Association