KAI FACT magazine
I'm KAI, too! #13
FACT  No.13

I'm KAI, too! #13

The Yamato Tsurugi Factory, in Gifu Prefecture, produces over 100,000 kitchen knives every month. Akemi Yano is a 20-year veteran in charge of the grinding process. “It takes less than a minute to grind the blade through the machine, but a human adjustment is always important for high-quality output.”

Manami Kunita is in charge of the sharpening. This job requires high-level skill. She is one of the few craftsmen with gold qualifications in an in-house artisan program. The sharpened knife is completed after inspection and packaging. Chizuko Ohnaka is in charge of manual packaging and checking each product to see if there are any scratches or printing defects. “All of the manufacturing processes are linked. And if the quality of the previous step was good, the overall time can be shortened accordingly and will lead to good quality products.”

These three workers have strong sense seeking “the best”. In Kunita’s memorable words, she said, “I want these knives to go to a good owner!”

  1. Grinding process
    Arriving from Tawara Factory, the knives’ edges are thinly ground, and then the entire side is ground with a grinding stone.
  2. Sharpening process
    During the process of sharpening high-grade kitchen knife cutting edges, workers use water to avoid generating frictional heat.
  3. Packaging process
    Knives are wiped with oil, then with a dry cloth, while workers visually check the quality. Each knife is carefully packaged manually, one by one.


  • ①Length of employment
  • ②Happy moments at work
  • ③Work goals
  • ④Hobbies
  • ⑤Favorite celebrity
  • Kitchen knife packagingChizuko Ohnaka(left)

    ① 13 years ② When I work smoothly and achieve the production target ③ Strive to put quality first and produce quick and reliable work ④ Housework, shopping ⑤ SMAP

  • Kitchen knife sharpeningManami Kunita(center)

    ① 7 years ② When I make an aesthetically pleasing, quality piece ③ Improving sharpening skills ④ Housework, play with dogs ⑤ Jiro Sato, Tsuyoshi Muro

  • Kitchen knife grindingAkemi Yano(right)

    ① 22 years ② When I make a satisfying product ③ Machine skill improvement ④ Play with grandchildren, shopping ⑤ Masaharu Fukuyama

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