Kikuichi Cutlery has a history of bladesmithing dating back to the days of the samurai. Our company was established in the 13th century when the Emperor Go-Toba chose our family ancestor, Shiro Kanenaga, to be one of his swordsmiths. Emperor Go-Toba was so pleased with the quality of Shiro Kanenaga’s blades, that he granted Shiro the right to use the royal symbol, the Chrysanthemum flower (kiku-no-mon), on the blades he produced. The use of this mark not only signified the blades were made for the emperor, but also the superb quality which exceeded royal standards. Today, Shiro Kanenaga's hand forged swords are considered national treasures in Japan.
The Chrysanthemum symbol is still recognized in Japan for its connection to the royal family and you will still find it on all Kikuichi Cutlery. The continued use of this symbol both preserves our family history and assures every customer that Kikuichi Cutlery upholds the highest standards of quality.
As Japan modernized in the 19th century, the demand for hand forged swords declined, due in part to the reduction of the samurai during the Meiji restoration in the 1860s, this led the Kanenaga family to found our modern company in 1868. For more than 150 years, Kikuichi Cutlery has been producing knives with the same commitment to quality and craftsmanship as our samurai swords. Our knives are not manufactured in a large factory, instead, our production method is similar to the old guild style of manufacturing common in Japan and Europe. In this production method, artisans specialize in a specific part of the production process to create a single knife. Bladesmiths, Sharpening masters, Handle makers, and Finishing experts all contribute to the production process. A minimum of 4 master craftsmen work on each knife before it is ready for our logo and the chrysanthemum symbol.
Today, Kikuichi Cutlery continues to add to their historic legacy. Kikuichi Cutlery has been operating within the same family for 4 generations. With the retirement of Yasuo Matsuoka in 2017 after more than 50 years at the head of the company, the reigns of the company passed down to a new generation, our current President and CEO, Ikuyo Yanagisawa. Not only did Ms. Yanagisawa take the lead one of Japan’s most storied cutlery companies, but she is the first woman in Japan to ever be in this role.