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.
By the end of the Edo period (1600-1868) large quantities of forged blades for such things as saws, chisels and planes were being made here, and it is still one of the country's prominent centers for the production of bladed tools, the saws and chisels in particular being the envy of the world.
Techniques for forging Japanese iron were first passed down from the Edo era and, with the introduction of new techniques in the Meiji era, many varieties of cutlery have been developed. Even today, craftsmen directly involved in making traditional crafts represent 20% of the total workforce, keeping the tradition alive.
How to make
Using chisels, planes and knives, iron and carbon steel are heated in a furnace and welded together by hammering. The products are shaped by heating them in an oven and forging them by hammer while caking them with mud. Straightening the iron to relieve inner stress with a saw or a trowel gives Miki craftsmen the opportunity to show their abilities and the wonderful techniques they have mastered.