JAPAN’S CENTURIES-OLD ART OF MAKING SOME OF THE WORLD’S BEST KNIVES
With their razor-sharp edges and unmatched elegance, Japanese knives are some of the best in the world. And in Sakai, craftsmen, or shokunin, have been making them for hundreds of years.
Sakai’s reputation for blades dates back to the 14th century, when shokunin forged katanas for samuari. Those old practices have directly translated to how craftsmen make cooking knives today. “Instead of one guy doing everything, there are several areas of expertise and a different Shokunin for each,” says Michael Magers, a Dallas-born, New York-based photographer who’s been documenting shokunin in Japan since 2012. “Segmenting allows a second level of refinement,” Magers says. “If you’re just forging, or sharpening, you’re really good at it and have a strong understanding of that specific craft.”
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