Born in 1948, young Takeshi Saji started his apprenticeship in the art of knife making at the age of 14 with his uncle, then amongst the most revered knife smiths in Japan. Their hometown of Takefu has been at the forefront of knife making for over 700 years – add the word Uchimono to the original name of Takefu – Echinzen - and it translates as ‘hammer forged knives’. It was the purity of the Iron steel; from nearby Yasuki, the clarity of the spring water and the highest grade of pine charcoal which secured Takefu a place amongst the 4 most important knife making centres in the world.
From the outset, it was obvious that young Takeshi had a unique talent for creating outstanding edges. So great is his natural affinity to this art that at the age of 30 he was awarded the accolade of ‘Traditional Craftsman’ and at the extremely tender age (in knife making terms) of 38, the Ministry of Culture honoured him as a ‘Living Treasure’ of Japan – the youngest person ever to receive this high honour.
Saji san from the beginning has always made recreational, sporting and hunting knives – amongst the most challenging blades to make and an area to
which highly accomplished Nokaji are particularly attracted. The consumers of such blades are probably the most demanding in the fine knife