Sakai Forged Blades
Guns and tobacco were introduced into Japan in the middle of the 16th century by the Portuguese. By the end of that century, small tobacco knives were being forged in Sakai and the Tokugawa Shogunate awarded the forgers of Sakai a special seal of approval and guarantee of their quality.
Sakai was also granted exclusive selling rights and the reputation of the cutting edge of Sakai Uchihamono spread throughout the land as a result. Then in the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868), the deba-bocho or pointed knife appeared and was followed by knives of every description, mainly used in the preparation of food.
Japanese cooks have a complete range of kitchen knives for every purpose and most of those are said to have Sakai Uchihamono. The special feature of these knives is the finely ground edge and point and their reputation is as good as ever.
There are Sakai knives for every use, as evidenced by the fact that most chefs use one. Their common feature are the well-sharpened edges.
How to make
Sakaia uchihamono is characteristically made by welding together soft steel (jigane) and hard steel (hagane). The iron to be made into “jigane” is a very soft steel while the steel used for “hagane” contains a great amount of carbon and has been hardened by tempering. Since the hard hagane and the soft jigane are forged together, the knife will cut well without bending nor breaking.