WHAT IS A HIGONOKAMI?
Higonokami is a type of Japanese folding pocket knife, developed in the 1890s during the Meiji period. “Higo no Kami” in Japanese means “Lord of Higo”. Higo is the old name of Kyushu province, where the original knife came from, but “Higo no Kami” is also an aristocratic title historically given to powerful samurai. This knife has no locking mechanism, but is a friction folder using the friction of the swivel or pressure of the user’s thumb on the protruding tang called chikiri (thumb peg) to prevent the knife from folding during use. In the early 1900s, the higonokami became the farmer’s and tradesman’s pocket knife. After that it gained popularity among children as a pencil sharpener. Pencils sharpening mass contests were even organized, with rewards for the fastest. It’s the utilitarian pocket knife of everyday.
ABOUT OUR HIGONOKAMI
Our Higonokami are imported directly from the Nagao Kanekoma Factory in Miki-shi, Hyogo, Japan. In 1899 a knife maker’s guild was created in Miki and in 1907, the name “Higonokami” was trademarked. There are replicas and smiths who still make these sort of knives, but not the classic Higonokami. Only the members of the guild could manufacture the knife or use the name Higonokami. The replicas are called “Higonaifu”. Sadly, only one smith remains of the guild who can make the Higonokami, all others have stopped making them. The one remaining is Motosuke Nagao, established in Miki, descending from four generations of blacksmiths. His ancestor was Shigeji Nagao, one of the original founders of the design. Today, 5th generation Mitsuo Nagao, took over the Higonokami production and developing new designs.
The 4 small kanji stamped on the handle is 登録商標 which means Registered Trademark. While the 5 kanji stamped vertically is 肥後守定駒 which reads “Higonokami Teikoma”.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the nature of the production of this knife, there will be some slight imperfections on the blade.