Day in the Life of a Japanese Knife Maker
Paolo fromTOKYO Paolo fromTOKYO
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 Published On Aug 5, 2022

A day in the life of a Japanese Knife maker working in knife factory in Seki City Japan. This is what a typical work day would be for a knife technician in the factory and outside of workplace. The Japanese work culture can be seen in her everyday activities. Also, this is how Japanese knives are made. Nene works as a knife technician at Zwilling J.A. Henckels Japan, originally a 291-year-old German Knife maker who eventually setup an office in Japan and later acquired their knife factory here in Seki city, also known in Japan as the city of blades, crafting flawless samurai swords and knives for more than 800 years and producing half of Japan’s total knives in this city alone. Today, 90% of the company’s knives sold in Japan are actually made here at this factory. Throughout her shift, she’s tasked with inspecting knives being crafted that day, to ensure that each knife meets the factory’s strict quality standards. Which also means that she’s responsible for knowing the details about each and every knife that’s crafted in the factory including the entire build process for that individual knife and the technical requirements each one must satisfy in order for her to fully perform the inspections. In fact, all the workers are required to undergo basic training when joining, and during the training period, each worker’s skills are assessed and based on their strengths, assigned a specific role such as sharpening knifes, welding, etc. Apparently, sharpening the knives by hand is one of the most challenging parts when crafting a knife. So much so, the factory itself only has 9 specialists who have mastered the skill, and at the moment only 2 who are skilled enough to perform Kiwami Honbazuke, the most extreme and technical knife sharpening possible.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Japan
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