Echigo-yoita cutlery

Photo:Niigata Prefecture

Echigo-yoita cutlery Echigo yoita uchihamono

Practical beauty born of tradition
Craftsmanship and a reputation for carpentry tools

Description

What is Echigo-yoita cutlery ?

Echigo Yoita Uchihamono are blades produced for a variety of tools in the Yoita area of Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture. They are smith forged, meaning red-hot metal is beaten to shape, and are distinguished by their refined sharp cutting edge and ease of use. There are 4 products designated as Traditional Crafts: planes, chisels, axes and adzes. These carpenter’s tools first earned their reputation from the many temple carpenters who since the middle of the Edo period used these blades and helped build this flourishing castle town. Echigo Yoita Uchihamono have maintained their high quality over the years and are known as hammer-forged blades with a definite cutting edge and are still used regularly by craftsmen today. In recent years, Echigo Yoita Uchihamono have manufactured household and outdoor goods and earned a reputation as practical and high quality everyday articles.

History

The origin of Echigo Yoita Uchihamono dates back to the Warring States period. In 1578, Naoe Yamatonokami Sanetsuna, a vassal of Uesugi Kenshin, took the sword smiths from Kasugayama to Yoita. Later, since the foundations of smithing had been laid by the Naoe family, guns were also produced as well as swords. Early in the Edo period, the Yoita area was further developed and flourished by the opening up of river navigation on the Shinano river. Then, in the middle of the Edo period, carpenter’s tools were added to the blacksmiths’ repertoire and fine works such as doinomi or hyobunomi were created. Later, early in the Meiji period, a swordsmith, Matsunaga Ryuminsai Kaneyuki began to make planes as well as swords, which led to Yoichi achieving nationwide prominence as one of the major production areas of carpenter’s tools. In 1986 Echigo Yoita Uchihamono were designated as Traditional Crafts in recognition of the area’s production of fine blades and the traditional skills, which are still being passed down the generations today.

General Production Process

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