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History and Story of Premium Knife Craftsman Ichiro Hattori

June 07, 2017

History and Story of Premium Knife Craftsman Ichiro Hattori

 On this page, we would like to introduce one long story (but we hope it is interesting information to you) about Japan’s greatest craftsman Master Ichiro Hattori. We have been introducing and recommending his quality masterpieces at JCK and JKD for the decades、and his name and products are getting very well known in the world market.

 Needless to say, he is very special for Seki knife industry, so he is often asked by city and Seki Cutlery Association to make speech and lecture to tradition his knife making technique and experience to the next young generation.

 Master Hattori was born in the year 1939 and is now 80 years old. Although he has some health problems, he is still active and working hard at his factory every day from early morning to Sunset time. He is now trying to spend more time for teaching his knife skills and techniques to his young craftsmen.

 His father, Kazuichi Hattori was running Kitchen knife factory, “Masahiro”, so he grew up with the knife making environment, and learned many things about knife making naturally from his childhoods, as the proverb says “you learn, without realizing it, from what is around you”   After graduating the high school, he has started to work at his father’s company “Masahiro” at age of 19.

 In this generation, the stainless steel blades knives are very common and popular. But at that time, “Stainless Steel knives” were not yet developed and available, so most of the Kitchen knives were being made of the Carbon Steel blades. The most popular knife was “Nakiri” which is Japan’s traditional and original style for every home cooking use, before the Santoku and western style Gyuto coming in. 

 At that time, Master Hattori was already realizing the capability and potential of the Stainless steel blades for its remarkable rust resistance and easy maintenance. He has spent tremendous time and energy to research and develop high carbon Stainless steel materials suitable for knife blades.

 It was a big challenge for him at young age, since whole production methods were totally different from the carbon knives. Master Hattori was the craftsman who contributed to research and establish the suitable manufacturing process and heat-treatment process for the stainless steel blade knives. Unlike Carbon Steel blade kitchen knives (it does not require the difficult Tempering process), Heat-treatment process for Stainless steel blade kitchen knives was more difficult and still there was not proper method and suitable facility for making process of stainless steel knives available at the beginning. Therefore Master Hattori needed to research and made the best way of making stainless steel knives all by himself from the beginning. He spent so much time and money, sometimes expensive facilities got broken during his researching and trial and error too.  According to Hattori’s information, I understand it was very hard challenges and time-consuming process he faced and needed to overcome. 

 But I also understand these tough and difficult experience made him special craftsman and his challenge spirits has been very active.

 This is just one of Master Hattori’s achievement with the challenge spirits. He was pioneer craftsman who has tried new steels such as Cowry-X and making new things such as Stainless Damascus steel with many of trials and errors. His efforts and pursuits have made it possible, and contributed to today’s development of the knife industry.

 Master Hattori has worked hard and learned many new things at his father’s company Masahiro for 13 years, and decided to open his own company, Hattori Hamono at age of 32. He has refrained from making kitchen knives not to compete with Masahiro, so it was another challenge for him to make Hunting knives. However, his knife making talent has quickly led him to make fine hunting knives, and he has produced many knives for Kershaw, Browning, Beretta, Tekna etc (O.E.M.). for export.

 The quality of Hattori knives have attracted overseas end-users and collectors for their quality and fit&finish. Hattori’s uncompromised, detailed and quality hand works were perfect matching for those users. As the Hattori knives and name were gradually recognized in the oversea market, he has started making his own brand Hunting and Kitchen knives.

 There were so many important factors explaining his special approach and attention in his knife making process.  One of the very important steps he emphasized was the blade adjustment to perfect alignment and straightness. Any warping blade prevents to cut straight and affects to cutting performance, so you need to pay attention when selecting and purchasing knives.

Hattori Making Process
Hammering the blade for straitening the blade. Now he is making the Hattori FH-15 Chinese Cleaver

 The blade warping can happen after the processes of heat treatment, grinding and hand waterwheel whetstone sharpening, so Master Hattori does this hammering adjustments 3 times after each process. This process requires the craftsman’s experienced skill and technique.

 Master Hattori is 80 years old now. You will always see a sophisticated beauty and perfection on this knives. These are the result of his long knife making experience and his ultimate insistence to make the best knives. 

 Our Hattori FH Series knives are one of great example to show his combined techniques of both kitchen knife and hunting knife production. The blade is perfectly sharpened and finished for perfect cutting performance. Fine blade comes with the hand contoured, handmade handle which makes perfect grip and well balance, excellent fit&finish.

Hattori KD Series Cowry X Damascus Hunting Knife Collections

 Hattori production is always limited. Hattori Hunting knives are getting much rare and premium in the market too. Hattori Hunting knife collections

 It became very long story, but still there are many more of things about Master Hattori we would like to introduce and explain next time.

 We would like to introduce and explain more detailed information about our special craftsmen. If you have request for the information (what kind of information you especially would like to know or which craftsman’s information especially you would like to know), please let us know and help.

Best Regards,     

Koki Iwahara | JapaneseChefsKnife.Com

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