Higonokami Histoire et Fabrication

Spearheading a province

The higonokami is the Japanese pocket knife representative of its culture and art of living: simple and effective. Many countries, if not all, have their emblematic knife. Depending on the case, each region even. For Japan, if there was only one to choose from, it would be this one.

The history of Higonokami

This simple, sturdy, easy-to-handle folding knife was invented during the industrial revolution, exactly at the end of the 1890s. It was invented in Higo, a former Japanese province, now Kumamoto Prefecture Square. Higonokami History and Manufacture

The name composed of the place and the suffix nokami, means Lord of Higo. A beautiful name for a product that has sustained a whole part of the population for at least 3 generations, due to its success.

Its popularity and the customs of the time meant that everyone, even schoolchildren, owned their pocket knife.

Higonokami History and Manufacturing
↓ Higonokami Bamboo style ↓

Higonokami Histoire et Fabrication
Higonokami Histoire et Fabrication

The making of higonokami

You will see it in the Higonokamis that I offer in stock, or those that you can order custom-made of course, the blade is forged either in modern steel (one steel) or in San Maï, or in Damascus as I do for the kitchen knives I make.

This simply means, for San Maï, that the blade is made of three layers of steel. The hardest layer is in the center for the cutting edge, and on either side two softer steels.

For Damascus, several steels folded on themselves to give a layered effect.

In some cases, depending on the manufacturing process, the blade will be fully hardened. In others, I proceed to a selective quenching with clay.
Higonokami History and Manufacturing

Complément d'info sur l'Histoire et la Fabrication de l'Higonokami

Le dernier Higo No Kami vivant

In 1877 the last battle between the Samurai and the modern army of the emperor took place. Following their defeat, they were gradually deprived of their privileges, including the right to carry swords.

As a result, many blacksmiths had to find other outlets and converted to cutlery production.

The Lord of Higo at that time was Matsudaira Katamori. He was the last Higo No Kami to live.

In 1899, a guild of knife makers was formed in Miki, which registered the name “Higo no Kami” in 1907 as a trademark and whose members were the only ones authorized to use the name. Up to 50 manufacturers produced it with the variations in quality that this implies.

The knife suffered a severe blow in 1961 during an episode of sword violence, which resulted in a wave of anti-knives. Laws restricting pocket knives came out and almost condemned this knife with its special design to oblivion.

Example of Higonokami Damascus

Higonokami Damas

Example of Higonokami Selective Hardening

Higonokami Trempe sélective