KAI FACT magazine
KAI was born in the city of swordsmiths. It creates blades to help people in their everyday lives.
FACT  No.03

KAI was born in the city of swordsmiths.
It creates blades to help people in their everyday lives.

KAI Group was founded in Seki, Gifu. Seki, the city of swordsmiths, has more than 800 years of history.
KAI produces all kinds of products ranging from razors and kitchen knives to medical equipment,
such as scalpels. What is their philosophy on creating blades that help people?
Employees who work in a sterilized room assembling and wrapping medical equipment wear sanitation suits.
Surgical blades, especially those destined for ophthalmologists, are thoroughly examined with an electron microscope to check for even the tiniest of scratches.
Female employees, working on assembling curettes (a surgical instrument used to scrape off soft tissue samples), greeted us with smiles. The blades are packed in boxes.
The inspection room. Surgical blades meant for eye surgery are carefully examined with a powerful stereomicroscope.
Each blade’s angle and shape is checked.
Since this equipment will affect people’s lives, there is a rigorous quality control system in place.
One employee said: ‘I can’t lose focus for even a second.’
Oyana Factory in Seki began operating in 1968.
A bronze statue of three men raising their arms to the sky stands near the factory.
This statue is known as the ‘Sanwa-no-zo’.
It serves as a reminder to manufacturers to be grateful to their customers, ancestors and employees.

Craftsmanship supported
by the spirit of the blacksmith

KAI’s pursuit of creating sharp blades can best be seen in the manufacturing of medical equipment. Takahiko Asahi, factory manager of KAI’s medical equipment division, explains: ‘We only produce medical equipment in Oyana Factory because these products directly influence a person’s health and wellbeing. Therefore, we must use the best production facility and the most skilled researchers.’ Dermatologists, surgeons, ophthalmologists, and other kinds of doctors require sharp blades of varying shape and size.
‘Thus, a lot of trial and error is required during production and assembly. Nevertheless, you forget all of the hard work and suffering when you meet a satisfied customer.’ Masahiro Endo, medical device developer, truly enjoys his work. 80 countries around the world currently use KAI's medical equipment. Takako Yokochi, who works in KAI’s overseas sales division, believes KAI’s popularity abroad can be attributed to the company’s ability to respond to customer’s individual needs. Blacksmiths would discuss the exact needs of their customer in order to produce knives tailored to each customer’s unique physique and purpose. KAI’s foundation is built on the spirit of the blacksmith.
In the past samurai prized swords as invaluable weapons. Several hundred years later, KAI’s blades are helping to save people’s lives. Seki’s devotion to craftsmanship has also supported KAI’s development.
From the right: Katsuaki Yamada (Managing director), Masahiro Endo (medical device developer), Takako Yokochi (overseas sales), Kazuhiko Isogimi (overseas sales), Takahiko Asahi (medical device factory manager).
On a sunny winter day in mid-November, 350 employees gathered at the entrance of Oyana Factory.
It was a peaceful gathering.
Oyana Factory sits on a plain.
The sky stretches as far as the eye can see and the beautiful mountains are visible on the horizon.
The clean air was wonderful.

Gifu | Article List

  • Share
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • printerest