Higonokami Knife | A new Style of Higonokami comes to KS!

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The true makers of the Higonokami Knife returns to Kickstarter, with a new style of Higonokami Blade special for Kickstarter Backers!

alphakogyo.,Ltd

2021.12.24

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The true makers of the Higonokami Knife returns to Kickstarter, with a new style of Higonokami Blade special for Kickstarter Backers!

alphakogyo.,Ltd

2021.12.24

A new style of Higonokami comes to Kickstarter from Nagao Kanekoma Factory, the only true makers of the Higonokami for nearly 120 years

The 5th generation leader of the Nagao Kanekoma factory, Mitsu Nagao is currently forging amazing Higonokami knives for Kickstarter backers. For these special knives, the marking 「定光作」or Sadamitsusaku, which means a true production of Mitsuo Nagao, are imprinted on the blades. But recently, the problem of fake knives has been growing, and to help protect against this, these knives will have “made in Japan” imprinted on the saya(sheath). The XL sized Dancing Dragon (龍舞 ryuumai) version will have a dragon imprinted on one side using a special process and the Higonokami logo on the other side. 

Beloved by knife collectors all over the world who would wait a year to get one, comes back to Kickstarter!

If an order goes in for a new Higonokami knife, it would normally take about 1 year for that single knife to arrive.

When making the original Kickstarter project, it nearly didn’t come to fruition. Mr. Nagao took a while to deliberate but came back to say that he would do it, even if it meant taking the project on by himself, forgoing days off to get the knives made. And the result was that the project was extremely well received by users, and an amazing amount of people backed the project.

Like before, the Higonokami you receive will not be mass produced, but forged one by one by Mr Nagao himself!

4 different types of Higonokami, each marked with SADAMITSUSAKU as proof of a true Higonokami knife

「定」:Long used kanji that is also in the trademarked name that appears on the sheath and can also mean true

「光」:Kanji that is found in the first name of Mitsu Nagao, the 5th generation creator of the Higonokami

「作」:Kanji found in “to make-作る” and can mean production

Recently, copies from China and so on have been appearing, and so as one way to protect the brand is that we are going to be putting Made in Japan on the sheath. (We don’t have a picture of what this will look however the stamping will be up to Mr. Nagao on where he puts it.)

We are so happy to work with such an amazing local craftsman such as Mr. Nagao.


Japan makes various swords and cutlery via various traditional methods which is valued abroad

I was born in Miki City, Hyogo Prefecture, a city where cutlery makers are plenty, and is the birthplace of the Higonokami knife. This city used to have various makers of the Higonokami knife, but today there is only one. Miki City is found just to the west of Japan’s traditional capital Kyoto.

We want many people all over the world to know about the history and traditions behind the Higonokami. That’s why we created this project and the previous project here on Kickstarter!


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There is only one maker that holds the rights to create the trademarked Higonokami Knife

When the Higonokami Knife was in its golden age, there were 40 factories, and 200 craftsmen that made it. Today, only Nagao Kanekoma Factory is able to make them. 

The reasoning behind this is multitude, cheaper non official versions from China appearing, the necessity for these types of knives also declined, and the cost and time needing to be dedicated to making them one by one was also rather high. If it wasn’t for Nagao Kanekoma Factory, the tradition and skill behind making the knife would have come to an end.



4 types of Higonokami Knife

① Higonokami Silver (L Size) / Blade Metal: SK Steel [Warikomi Method]/ Blade Stamping: 定光作  Sheath: Brass (Japanese Made)

②  Higonokami Black(XL Size)/Blade Metal: SK Steel [Warikomi Method]/ Blade Stamping: 定光作/Sheath :Black (Japanese Made)

③  Higonokami Gold(XL Size)/Blade Metal: Aogami Steel  [Warikomi Method]/ Blade Stamping: 定光作/Sheath:Brass (Japanese Made)

④  Higonokami Dragon(XL Size)Design「Dancing Dragon 龍舞」Blade Metal: Aogami Steel  [Warikomi Method]/ Blade Stamping: 定光作/Sheath:Mirror Finish (Japanese Made)

※A special stamp will be applied to the knife and sheath : 「定光作」&「made in japan」 respectively

※On the Dancing Dragon style of Higonokami, one side will have the dragon and the other side will have the Higonokami stamp. These will be decided on by Mr. Nagao



The Difference between the L and XL sizes  

L Size Sheath: ~10cm Blade Length: ~7cm Total Length: ~17㎝

XL Size  Sheath:~12cm Blade Length: ~9cm Total Length: ~21㎝

Each one is made by hand so the lengths will be slightly different for each one.

A double bevelled design

The knives are all double bevelled meaning that no matter if you are a lefty or righty, you can use the knife without any problem.

The production process behind the Higonokami

The knife making process since the birth of the Higonokami knife is pretty much the same since Meiji 27 (1894). Each blade is lovingly made one by one by hand, as it has been done for 100 years and by 5 generations.

【Forging・Grinding・Boring・Stamping】 

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Using a circular grinder to grind the edge of the blade one by one.

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Tools that have been used for many many years

Returns

1. Higonokami Silver (L Size) Blade: SK Steel (Warikomi) Sheath: Mirror Finish

L Size Sheath: ~10cm Blade Length: ~7cm Total Length: ~17㎝ ※As the blades are handmade there will be a slight difference in the length

Comes in a box.

2. Higonokami Black (XL Size) Blade: SK Steel (Warikomi) Sheath: Black

XL Size Sheath:~12cm Blade Length: ~9cm Total Length: ~21㎝※As the blades are handmade there will be a slight difference in the length

Comes in a box.

3. Higonokami Gold (XL Size) Blade: Aogami (Warikomi) Sheath: Brass

XL Size Sheath:~12cm Blade Length: ~9cm Total Length: ~21㎝※As the blades are handmade there will be a slight difference in the length

Comes in a box.

4.Higonokami Dragon (XL Size) Dancing Dragon Design | Blade: Aogami (Warikomi) Sheath: Mirrored Finish  ※Specially made for Kickstarter: One side has a dragon stamp, the other has the Higonokami Stamp

XL Size Sheath:~12cm Blade Length: ~9cm Total Length: ~21㎝※As the blades are handmade there will be a slight difference in the length

Made specially for Kickstarter. The print on the sheath may differ to the one found in the picture.

Comes in a box.

5.XL Size Set (Higonokami Black, Higonokami Gold, Higonokami Dragon)

XL Size Sheath:~12cm Blade Length: ~9cm Total Length: ~21㎝※As the blades are handmade there will be a slight difference in the length

Comes in separate boxes.

6. Higonokami Full Set (Higonokami Silver, Higonokami Black, Higonokami Gold, Higonokami Dragon)

Sizes may slightly vary due to being made by hand.

The Silver comes in a vinyl case, the rest come in separate boxes.


Convey traditional Japanese methods to the rest of the world

Every year our Higonokami knives are highly rated by the International Hardware Forum held in Germany, and has been written about in book JAPANISCHE SCHMIEDEKUNST by Rudolf Dick as well as being given a special 10 page feature in the French magazine PANORAMA.

As the Higonokami Knife has not changed design throughout the years, it is highly rated by foreign collectors, and seen as a rare piece of craftsmanship, with wait times of the knife going up to about a year!.




 The history of the Higonokami

Meiji Year 27(1894)

初代 | 永尾駒太郎 First Generation | Komataro Nagao

The Founding Father of Nagao Kanekoma. Started as Hirata Knife maker before then going on to create and manufacture Higonokami Knives.

二代目 | 永尾重次 Second Generation | Shigeharu Nagao

Took over the Higonokami production and had the Higonokami trademark registered.

三代目 | 永尾章 Third Generation | Akira Nagao

Carried on the legacy of his father.

四代目 | 永尾元佑 Fourth Generation | Motosuke Nagao

Took over during a turbulent time and carried on despite enormous trials finally becoming the one and only producer of Higonokami Knives.

五代目 | 永尾光雄(Fifth Generation)  | Mitsuo Nagao

Took over and dedicated his life to the re-expansion of the Higonokami Knife

When the hinge is a bit stiff

As each Higonokami is made by hand, the way the hinge is attached may slightly vary with each one.

If the hinge is too stiff, you can use the tail or chikiri to push down on and open up the knife.

A look at different parts of the Higonokami

Aogami Steel (Higonokami Gold, Higonokami Dragon)

Aogami steel is extremely popular and is used in various high quality knives and cutlery. A type of yasuki steel, it is made by adding chrome, tungsten, and carbon to Shirogami steel. It makes this steel harder while being more resistant to wear. Found in many blades made for professionals.


SK Steel (Higonokami Silver, Higonokami Black)

A special steel carbon alloy. Used in the production of tools and cutlery for professionals.


Iron・Steel

The Higonokami is made using a warikomi method. This means that a hard steel core is placed between two pieces of soft iron, which allows the blade to absorb shocks without breaking. This does unfortunately mean that is slightly prone to rusting.

Compared to Western Knives

Western Knives are made normally wholly from steel. This allows for the edge of the blade to be kept for longer, but they aren’t as resistant against shocks meaning they are more prone to breaking and chipping.



Upkeep of the blade (Sharpening)

Please clean after using, wiping with a cloth that has been moistened with rust preventative oils and keep in a low humidity environment.Then return it back into the sheath. If the sharpness of the blade has declined, the best way to sharpen it is a whetstone, however if that is not possible, commercially sold water resistant paper can do the trick. Fold the water resistant paper into a square, put water on the blade, and then polish. (Start with coarse #240-400, finish with #600-1000). When doing so, be careful not to get water on the hinge.

Sharpening with a whetstone


 Preservation Society Activites 

In Miki City, a monthly event occurs, where metal is tempered using traditional methods. This is held in order to preserve the old methods and skills that came before. It is a brilliant event that allows the general public to see these skills in action.

When my grandfather was alive, he was a smither of saws. Unfortunately he died when I was young, and I never got the chance to see him in action, but I remember the sounds of clanking and the smell of iron when I was close to his house. This profession was a tough and sometimes dangerous profession, and being able to this event allows me to feel a bit more connected to him.

↑Showing off the traditional tempering and forging skills

↑Bellows Festival (Photo Permission granted by the Miki City Manufacturing Association’s Preservation of Traditional Forging Skills Society

Mr. Nagao from Nagao Kanekoma Factory, works during one of these festivals (Small Knife Festival)

 Kanamono Shrine



 Use of funds 

The funds of this project will mainly go into manufacturing costs for returns, as well as the delivery costs. But we also wish to allocate some of the funds into parent child classes to help foster the future generations of craftsmen.

Project Creators

Project Creator  alphakogyo Co. ltd

I am working on behalf of Nagao Kanekoma Factory in order to bring you the amazing Higonokami Knife. I can’t myself make the knife but I have grown up among craftsmen all my life. I mentioned this in the last project but we are all surrounded by things that we use daily, but they are all created by amazing manufacturers. Without them, no matter how much money you have, you aren’t able to create these products without the people behind them. I am so grateful to them for letting me be a part of this project!  

Being able to bring a piece of Japanese history and culture to the rest of the world in the form of the Higonokami Knife, especially since the knife was made in my own backyard, is something I really treasure. Mr. Nagao at the Nagao Kanekoma Factory is a brilliantly talented craftsman, and I’m very humbled to work with him. We’re also extremely grateful to Japankuru Funding, who have helped us bring the project to life, as well as BeeCruise who are working on logistics with us.

alphakogyo Co. ltd | Yukiko Moriyama

alphakogyo Co. ltd | Fujimoto Yoshionbu 

This Project is promoted by Japankuru Funding, Bringing Japanese Products to the West!

Schedule 

Feb 2022: Project Launches

March 2022: Project finishes

May-July 2022: Knives are Prepared

October 2022: Knives begin to arrive to backers

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This is an All or Nothing project. This project will be funded if the amount of money raised exceeds its target amount.

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alphakogyo.,Ltd

alphakogyo.,Ltd is a company that started in Miki City 30 years ago, a city that from long ago focused on creating hardware. We work with companies to create items that we feel would be useful to the everyday workman.

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This is an All or Nothing project. This project will be funded if the amount of money raised exceeds its target amount.

¥6,750 or more $59 |Early Bird Higonokami Silver L Size

Get yourself a Large size Higonokami Silver at a special Early Bird Price at 20% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Silver (L Size)

¥7,225 or more $63 |KS Special Higonokami Silver L Size

Get yourself a Large size Higonokami Silver at a special Kickstarter Price at 15% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Silver (L Size)

¥9,900 or more $87 |Early Bird Higonokami Black XL Size

Get yourself an Extra Large size Higonokami Black at a special Early Bird Price at 20% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Black (XL Size)

¥10,450 or more $91 |KS Special Higonokami Black XL Size

Get yourself an Extra Large size Higonokami Black at a special Kickstarter Price at 15% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Black (XL Size)

¥12,600 or more $111 |Early Bird Higonokami Gold XL Size

Get yourself an Extra Large size Higonokami Gold at a special Early Bird Price at 20% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Gold (XL Size)

¥13,300 or more $117 |KS Special Higonokami Gold XL Size

Get yourself an Extra Large size Higonokami Gold at a special Kickstarter Price at 15% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Gold (XL Size)

¥14,800 or more $129|Early Bird Higonokami Black&Silver

Get yourself an Extra Large size Black Higonokami as well as a Large Size Silver Higonokami Knife at a special Early Bird Price at 20% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Silver (L Size)
Higonokami Black (XL Size)

¥15,725 or more $137 |KS Special Higonokami Black&Silver

Get yourself an Extra Large size Black Higonokami as well as a Large Size Silver Higonokami Knife at a KS Special Price of 15% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Silver (L Size)
Higonokami Black (XL Size)

¥36,000 or more $315 |Early Bird Higonokami Dragon XL

Get yourself an Extra Large size Higonokami Dragon at a special Early Bird Price at 20% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Dragon (XL Size)

¥38,000 or more $333 |KS Special Higonokami Dragon XL

Get yourself an Extra Large size Higonokami Dragon at a special Kickstarter Price at 15% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Dragon (XL Size)

¥45,900 or more $403 |Early Bird Higonokami XL Set

Get yourself an Extra Large size Higonokami Pack that contains the Black, Gold, and special Dragon Higonokami Knives at a special Early Bird Price at 20% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Dragon (XL Size)
Higonokami Black (XL Size)
Higonokami Gold (XL Size)

¥48,450 or more $425 |KS Special Higonokami XL Set

Get yourself an Extra Large size Higonokami Pack that contains the Black, Gold, and special Dragon Higonokami Knives at a special Kickstarter Price at 15% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Dragon (XL Size)
Higonokami Black (XL Size)
Higonokami Gold (XL Size)

¥49,500 or more $434 |Early Bird Higonokami Full Set

Get yourself a full set of Higonokami Knives! That means you get the Large Size Higonokami Silver as well as the XL Size Black, Gold, and special Dragon Higonokami Knives at a special Early Bird Price at 20% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Dragon (XL Size)
Higonokami Black (XL Size)
Higonokami Gold (XL Size)
Higonokami Silver (L Size)

¥52,250 or more $459 |KS Special Higonokami Full Set

Get yourself a full set of Higonokami Knives! That means you get the Large Size Higonokami Silver as well as the XL Size Black, Gold, and special Dragon Higonokami Knives at a special Kickstarter Price at 15% off!

INCLUDES:
Higonokami Dragon (XL Size)
Higonokami Black (XL Size)
Higonokami Gold (XL Size)
Higonokami Silver (L Size)
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