OSAKA – Sakai city’s Industrial Promotion Center (IPC) has launched an English-language website selling nearly 200 types of specialty steel cooking knives from the region amid growing interest in the signature product.
The site includes videos of traditional forging and grinding processes to craft the blades, along with care instructions and detailed images and descriptions of products.
Seven makers from Sakai, in Osaka Prefecture, are represented, with products ranging from a small ¥6,000 carving knife to a ¥107,000 dragon-engraved sashimi knife with ebony handle.
In 2014, approximately ¥1 billion ($8.53 million) in knife exports went through Osaka customs — a threefold increase since 2009, with knife exports to the U.S. jumping by a factor of 15 over the same period.
Sakai’s IPC sees the growth as an indication that Japanese knives, popular with local chefs, are catching on among professionals overseas with the expansion of Japanese cuisine and culture.
According to the center, knife production began in Sakai roughly 600 years ago and the area’s craftsmen later pioneered specialty “tobacco knives” that came to be widely used throughout the country.
Sakai city is one of the five major knife-producing centers in Japan, along with locations in Niigata, Fukui, Gifu and Kochi prefectures.
The English website is at www.sakaiknife.com.