On the very next day, we woke up early in the morning and I was taken to Emani Tadashi workshop in Sakai. I am not sure about the name, but I think that it is called ''Ichueno Hamono''. Of course, I didn't know where they were taking me and again it was a surprise. We have stopped not that far from this place, but I still had to walk a little bit. In the meantime, I could hear the sound of spring hammers and forging, as well as other sounds from many workshops around me. I was stressed especially that once we got closer to my destination we had to stop and repeat my walk three times. Just imagine yourself walking down the street where everybody is looking at you, especially that just behind you five people, three cameras, big microphone on the stick etc. are following you. Totally normal and relaxing situation. Hahaha. Anyway, I have managed to enter ''Ichueno Hamono'' and I was introduced to Emani Tadashi. Tadashi San is a very nice guy who showed me how to forge the knife and then, under his supervision, he let me forge my own knife. That was a very unique experience. Obviously, there is no chance to learn this kind of stuff in one day, but it gave me an idea of hard labour involved etc.
Templates of different kind of knives made by Tadashi San.
My first attempt on hammering with spring hammer. Trust me, it only looks easy on youtube videos. Every hit is very powerful and it's quite hard to keep the steel in one place.
Here Tadashi San is cutting out the tang of the knife. He let me do most of the knife making processes except for this one.
Me, Tadashi San and knives forged by two of us.
One of the knives made by Tadashi San.
Usually, after filming my part of the programme, the tv crew was filming the whole process done by the master. That happened here and will happen in the next parts of my story. Usually, I was spending that time taking pictures. Below you can see only a few steps of knife forging.
The furnace is heated up to 1100*C
Hagane (Steel) is joined with Jigane (iron)
Then it is forged together, first by hand...
...and then by the spring hammer.
Forged blank prepared to further processing.
The blank is cleaned...
...and cut to shape.
This is a tang stamping machine.
Then the blanks are dipped in the clay, but Emani Tadashi is using the mix of clay and sharpening stone powder and who knows what else:D
He is also using a big butane torch to dry them faster.
Later on, he is heating the blanks to a proper temperature and heats treating the blades.
In the meantime I have shown him my knife which I made especially for my trip to Japan:
After looking at my knife he asked me if I would like to see his knives. After careful examination of his blades, he said that these two are for me!!!!!!! Seriously? I didn't know what to say. I think that even the tv crew was surprised because usually this kind of stuff is done at the end of the day. Emani Tadashi gave me two beautiful knives. A 270mm blue #1 suminagashi kiritsuke yanagiba and big, thick nakiri made out of the same steel.
The interesting fact is that in Sakai blacksmiths don't put their name on the blades, because there are more people involved in the knife making. The blacksmith is forging the knife and then somebody else is grinding and sharpening. However, Emani Tadashi is stamping his blades with kanji inspired by names of his two daughters. Serenity (second kanji from top) and Eloquent (third kanji from top).
Also, he gave me two key ring pendants. These are really cool because they look like usuba knives and in reality, they are forged out of laminated steel, has ''ura'' etc. They are normal, small knives. I am still thinking if I should use them as pendants or maybe if I should perform ''honbadzuke'' and make small handles for them:D He also gave me a super nice t-shirt with kanji ''鍛冶屋'' - kajiya - blacksmith.
Meeting Tadashi San, forging my own knife and receiving all of the extremely nice gifts was great and I have no words to describe how happy I was, however, it wasn't end of a day. Our next stop was Sakai Hamono Museum...
I will keep that story for the next post...