Made exclusively for Knife Merchant using the most traditional Japanese methods of old-world craftsmanship, Minonokuni knives are unlike anything available in the US market. Even the name, Minonokuni, was chosen for the rich history it represents. The Minonokuni region of Japan was an ancient province that encompassed a wide area including Seki-City, the birthplace of the finest swords and knives ever crafted, from 702 to 1868 CE. We will be using the name Minonokuni as a label for the knives that have been made specifically for Knife Merchant using traditional Japanese techniques. We have contracted a number of artisans across Japan to forge these knives for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious is to introduce our customers to a new standard of quality craftsmanship that is otherwise unavailable within the United States. The second is to foster true Japanese journeymen, as they struggle with the overwhelming burden of adapting to the modern market. The old age of skilled craftsmen and the shortage of young successors has created a rapid decline in production capacity that is worsened by the increasing demand for Japanese knives. This problem is compounded as the younger generation continues to opt for gainful employment within high-volume/mass-production factories rather than learning the craft from their fathers and grandfathers. As a family business we highly value multi-generational partnership and the apprentice-master relationship that has proven to be the foundation of the knife making industry for thousands of years. In cultivating the Minonokuni collection we are enabling these craftsmen to continue passing the tradition of their art to the next generation by providing a direct outlet for these families to market their knives. Each family specializes in a particular type of steel and each line will be sold at a corresponding price point. You will find these different steel formulations to be represented in each of the Minonokuni brands: Ume, Take, and Matsu.