Higonokami Knife History

“Higonokami”- A nostalgic samurai’s pocketknife!

Higonokami is a fascinated folding pocketknife, originated from the land of Japan. Higo no kami means, ‘Lord of Higo,’ denoting to both the province where the knives originated and given to honored samurai. The knives have been widespread throughout Japan since their introduction in 1896. This knife was the sales that were very sharp in Kyushu province.

After the death blow of a socialist leader by a teen boy using the Higonokami knife, there was an intense anti-knife operation charged all over the country, and therefore the carry of knives was restricted.

Higonokami knife

The warrior castes of Japan were well-armed where the mainstream of the population was permitted only to carry the tools of their trades. Which in case resulted in the resemblance of preindustrial weapons and farming tools with the martial-arts weapons.

The count of blacksmiths who guild the knife has started reducing. The last and the fourth generation of blacksmiths who made the knife was Mr. Motosuki Nagao. There was a well-known theory that the blade was a double-edged blade. The form of the blade body changed little by little. And it was square in shape from the thing which was the sharp bamboo grass blade of the tip at the creation.

“A Higonokami short knife association” was proven in 1899 and grew up into business more than 200 people who affianced in 40 registration manufacturers, Higonokami short knife making in the golden age. The knife using the name of “the Higonokami short knife” came to be made at the knife production center, but a lot of goods of poor quality register a trademark of the name of “the Higonokami short knife” among them in about 1907, which caused various troubles. And it became only one case of the Nagao piece mill now that we use “the Higonokami pocketknife.”

Higonokami knife closed

Geography of Higonokami:

  • A handle completed out of a folded cover of brass, along with the name of the maker stamped in Japanese.
  • Sharpened shiny blade.
  • The lever on the blade to open the knife.
  • The pivot of the knife is a simple washer and rivet.

The easy to sharpen, long-lasting blades and small hand-friendly shape made them useful for anything from preparing drafting materials to sharpening pencils to enjoying lunch. Higo no kami blades are typically less than 4 inches long, made from laminated high-carbon steel. The scales are usually brass or soft metal, with friction lock or long tang to prevent accidental blade closure. The knife has no locking system but has a friction folder. In addition, a design had bending long and wide bending. Maximum of the bending long is not made now. There are different shapes of blades but the most common is the one with the point in line with the edge, the so-called “inverted tanto”.

As Motosuke is alone to create all these knives he was stressed to keep up with quality standards. It is nearly impossible to find one that is flawless and there appears to always be a detail that is erroneous like, scrapes and faultiness on the blade, lever that doesn’t regulate well on the handle, chores that aren’t regular, file marks, spoiled brass etc.

There were some modifications made to the design of this knife to make it more real-world to use, and the name “Higonokami” was trademarked numerous years later together with the creation of the knife makers’ union.

After Motosuke Nagao the last maker of this knife, the future trademark of Higonokami is uncertain. Even some origins of Japan are rarely aware of this fascinated pocketknife in the present.

Nevertheless, there is a community of noble knives’ fanatics, which makes the craftsmen’s fame live long. The knife truly should be treasured because of its larger-than-life history!






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