This knife is known as the “Higo no Kami” which is an aristocratic title historically given to powerful Japanese samurais. In late 19th century Japan, a blacksmith added a protruding lever to a pocketknife which allowed the blade to swiftly open and close. The new knife design quickly became popular with everyone from craftsmen to schoolchildren, who would use the nimble knife in pencil sharpening contests.
The hand-forged knife remains a useful, all-purpose knife to this day. It has a slim profile that slips easily into any pocket. The blade is extremely thin and sharp, and a high carbon content in the steel helps to retain the edge. The brass handle is created from a single piece of metal and folded by machine.
Each Higo no Kami knife continues to be handmade by the last remaining manufacturer in the guild, Nagao Seisakusho, which is now in its fifth generation. In the late 19th century, a guild was formed to oversee the manufacture of the popular Higo no Kami knives. Only blacksmiths belonging to the guild were allowed to manufacture the knife and use the trademarked name, which is engraved in kanji characters, on the handle: “Higo no Kami,” meaning "Lord of Higo" in Japanese, which pays homage to where the knife originated from.
Wipe the blade clean with a soft cloth. Rub a very light coat of oil on the blade to protect it against moisture. Store the knife in a dry place.
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