/

OSAKA

Knives out for Osaka fair

by Tomoko Otake

Knives might not seem like a likely theme for anything festive, but at a fair happening in the city of Sakai, Osaka, that household tool is the center of attraction.

The annual Sakai Hamono Matsuri (Sakai knife festival) will be held at the Sakai City Industrial Promotion Center, and will give visitors a peek into the city’s history as a mecca of knife-making. Sakai started to prosper as a knife-production town in the 16th century, when domestic production of tobacco started and a demand for knives to cut tobacco leaves began to grow. Today, nearly all top professional knives in Japan are produced in Sakai, according to the association of local knife makers.

The festival will feature everything from demonstrations of knife-manufacturing techniques to pencil-sharpening and apple-paring contests. There will even be lessons on how to cut up fish. The association will also collect old knives from visitors during the festival and hold a memorial service for them later.

The Sakai Knife Festival takes place Feb. 12-13 in Sakai, Osaka. For more information, call (072) 227-1001 or visit www.sakaihamono.or.jp.