Nigara Hamono SG2 Kurouchi Gyuto 240mm
Manufacturer: Nigara Hamono (二 唐 作)
Blacksmith: Tsuyoshi Yoshizawa (吉澤 剛)
Region: Hirosaki, Aomori
Steel Type: Powder Steel (Stainless)
Handle: Birch Burl and Acrylic
Blade length: 240mm
Finish: Kurouchi, Tsuchime
Hardness: 62-63 HRC
There is something that sets Nigara Hamono apart from other cutlery families in Japan. We could first emphasize that it is the 350 years of history, starting with the manufacture of swords for the Tsugaru clan at the beginning of the Edo period. Passing down know-how and skills over eight generations has undoubtedly given Nigara knives their cultured DNA, but the long history is not unique to Nigara.
You could say that having a legendary fifth generation blacksmith - Japan's national treasure, Mr. Kunitoshi Nigara (二 唐 國俊) - gives the family brand high status. Kunitoshi's works were commissioned by Ise Shrine and Meiji Shrine during the Showa period, earning him a long list of honors, honors, and knighthood from royalty (he was even invited by the U.S. military after war to document and record historical swords as part of the cultural heritage conservation effort). But that still doesn't explain why Nigara is still so remarkable decades later.
The best way to understand why Nigara stands out is in the eyes of the current (8th) generation blacksmith - Mr. Tsuyoshi Yoshizawa (吉澤 剛). As he stands in the family business workshop, along with his younger brother and two young artisans, feeling inspired to create the world's most remarkable knives, he actually has two things that no other brand does. can offer him.
The first is his father / boss, the current president of Nigara - the 7th generation owner, Mr. Toshiju Yoshizawa (吉澤 俊 寿). With designer glasses and a nonchalant hairstyle, Mr. Yoshizawa wouldn't feel out of place in a design firm in Europe. A lover of arts, music and literature, Mr. Yoshizawa does not fit the typical profile of a cutler. He believes that a broad perspective opens new doors and studying the arts and music refines his sensitivity to the world around him. In 2008, he created the Anmon motif, based on the impression of the Annon waterfalls, cascading from the foot of the World Heritage-listed Shirakami Mountains, next to the town of Hirosaki, where the family business is based. . “But in fact, the first inspiration for Anmon came from John Lennon's Andy Warhol paintings. I like both of them. John's glasses look like waves. Mr. Yoshizawa once said in an interview. Having a father like Mr. Yoshizawa gives Tsuyoshi a tremendous amount of inspiration and creative freedom, and he's too encouraged to take a broader perspective, far beyond the walls of the blade-making workshop.
The second element in Tsuyoshi's arsenal is the family firm's deep know-how in steelworks. The Nigara family has long since spread from the days of sword-forging - into structural steelworks, steel beam technologies, as well as restorations of historic metal structures. In a nutshell, Nigara is the guru of steel. When Tsuyoshi wanted to create a special Damascus finish on his blade, he didn't go to the steelmaker for a ready-made solution. He moved on to the other divisions of the family business where experts offered internal solutions. While many knife makers rely on steel companies to make Damascus billets, Nigara makes it their own with dozens of finishes from the technologies often used in the production of steel frames. steels and a boss who loves pop art as much as heat treating steel, Nigara's 8th generation blacksmith does jobs that no one else could.