KAI FACT magazine
FACT  No.02

KAI was created in a town
where sword smiths gathered.

KAI emerged from a town renowned for its sword smiths – Seki City. A decree abolishing the carrying of swords facilitated KAI’s rise as a global cutlery manufacturer. The bountiful forests and sources of fresh water found in and around Seki made the city the perfect base for sword smiths. During the Meiji period, samurai were banned from carrying swords. Because of this ban, sword smiths were forced to turn their sword making prowess from swords to cutlery. It was under these circumstances that the older brother of Saijiro Endo, KAI's first president, opened a factory to produce folding knives. After graduating from elementary school, Saijiro began working in the factory. During his eight years as an apprentice he learned how to manufacture knives and got married. He opened his own small factory in 1908 when he was 20 years old. It wasn’t easy. Only a few workers worked in his factory. He worked under the dim light of oil lamps and slept only three or four hours a day. His wife worried about his health. Saijiro never once felt sorry for himself. He was happy when he made enough money to buy a small gift for his mother. Soon, World War I started and knife sales soared. After the war, however, Japan was hit by a recession. Saijiro, nevertheless, continued his research and product development. His time and effort were rewarded when he created the innovative 'No.510' folding knife. The simple black model was so profitable that Saijiro’s competitors began imitating it. Even after gaining recognition for being the No.1 knife producer in Japan, he continued to innovate. KAI’s popular 'Seki Magoroku' series is named after a legendary sword smith. Saijiro, himself, came up with the name. When the Meiji government banned swords in favor of modernization, the samurai were forced to disband. Nevertheless, the spirit of sword making was passed down to future generations as evidenced by Saijiro’s commitment to producing quality knives.

  • Share
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • printerest