On our 2020 trip to Japan we decided to focus in on Sakai knife-makers to learn more of the history of knife making in this area. One knife maker we had our eyes on was Sakai Kikumori. Sakai Kikumori was established in 1926, and takes pride in the fact their area of the country is world famous for knife making.
They forge everything from traditional single bevel knives for sushi preparation, to double edged "western" knives, and are also famous for their water quenched honyaki knives. In April, 2011, Kawamura Hamono received the certification of this Sakai brand “ SAKAI WAZASHU”.
This mid-range series of western style knives feature an SG2 powder steel core, sandwiched between two layers of migaki finished stainless steel. SG2 is a super hard knife steel that can get mega sharp and it holds an edge like carbon steel but it's stainless, bonus! This extremely fine grained steel is one of our favourite steels at the shop for it’s ease of sharpening and low maintenance characteristics. The even distribution of the alloy in this steel means we can sharpen it to very acute angles, and it is relatively tough. These characteristics also make it very desirable for knife makers. We generally see this steel in the 63~64 HRC range.
The western polywood handles fit comfortably in the hand, and the steel collar helps bring a center balance to the knife. This type of handle is commonly found in western kitchens, hence the name.