Banshu Miki Forged Blades
After the siege and final fall of Miki castle toward the end of the Momoyama period (1573-1600), carpenters from various parts were drawn here to rebuild the town. Along with them came many smiths to forge the tools they needed and forging developed as a craft here.
Tosa Forged Blades
Records show that at the end of the 16th century there were some 400 smiths at work in Tosa. While they were skilled in the making of the samurai sword, they also seem to have made sickles and knives at the request of local farmers. Subsequently, with the promotion of forestry and the development of new fields in the area, bladed tools for agriculture and forestry were made in large quantities and a production center for forged goods came into being.
The roots of this craft go back to Hayashi Matashichi. With the support of the local feudal lord Hosokawa and his family, Hayashi was doing inlaid metal work on firearms and sword guards during the first half of the 17th century. Subsequently, as this craft became established, fine Higo sword guards were produced by generation after generation of the Hayashi family as well as by other families such as the Hiratas, Nishigakis, Shimizus and Kamiyoshis right through the Edo period (1600-1868), and many pieces of their work are still in existence. When the carrying of swords was outlawed in 1876, the Higo craftsmen turned their hand to decorative work and began making everyday items in line with the new social conditions.