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.
The blade is made of Shirogami or White steel (also known as “white paper steel”, named for the wrapping used by its manufacturer). Shirogami is used to make tools that can be sharpened to an excellent edge with good quality natural stones. It is a carbon steel with only very small amounts of the impurities P (phosphorus) and S (sulfur). It has a very narrow range of temperatures for hardening, and thus requires the blacksmith to be very skilled. White Steel has a very high carbon content ranging from 1.25% to 1.35% which makes more hardness, but also relatively brittle. Stamped on the blade is the kanji for Shiro Hagane or White Steel. The blade is sanmai laminated, very sharp and has a real suguha (straight) hamon.
Very limited stocks available.