Kujira Knives and Tosa Uchi Blade
Have you heard about the Kujira Knife? Do you have one already? It’s a stunning hand-forged multi-purpose knife from Tosa, Kochi. The knife is designed in the shape of a whale.
This weekend, I did a bit of research to find out about the Tosa Uchi Blade that is used to make this incredible utility knife.
Japan has a long history of producing blades, from samurai swords to kitchen knives. Tosa Uchi Blade has been a traditional craft since Kochi Prefecture was known as “Tosa.”
Blessed with excellent lumber due to its warm and rainy climate, Kochi has been exporting lumber throughout the country since ancient times. Craftsmanship was developed to hammer blades to cut down the lumber.
In the late Kamakura period (around 1300 AD), sword smiths moved to Tosa from Yamato Province (present-day Nara Prefecture), and the techniques of the sword smiths, combined with the techniques of hammering knives originally used in Tosa for agriculture and forestry, led to its development.
Tosa blades are also known as “free forging” since the craftsmen carry out the entire process from forging to edging and finishing, giving them a high degree of freedom. In addition, the price is relatively affordable compared to knives with a division of labor system, making them perfect for everyday use.
The Kujira Knife was designed in response to a request for a knife without a sharp point that could be used to sharpen pencils by schoolchildren.
Tosa Bay is home to many whales, and the city has a strong connection with whales. Whale watching is a popular tourist attraction in Kochi. The design of a prototype knife happened to resemble a whale, one of the symbols of Kochi, and that was the beginning of the whale knife.
The Kujira Knife has an attractive and unique shape, and the softness and comfort of iron. Above all, the sharpness of the blade makes it a popular item. The double-edged blade makes it easy to use for both right- and left-handed people. They are forged one by one, taking advantage of the 700 years of tradition of Tosa knives.
At home, you can use it as a letter opener to open envelopes or as a knife to open cardboard boxes.
In the outdoors, you can use it not only for cooking, but also for cutting string, opening bags, and many other situations. When fishing, you can use the knife to cut fishing line and fish on the spot.