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What is a Higonokami Knife?

A Higonokami knife is a traditional Japanese folding pocket knife that has a simple yet iconic design.

 

It originated in the town of Miki in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, during the late 19th century and has a long history. The name “Higonokami” refers to a specific style of this folding knife, and it’s not a brand name. You can buy Higonokami Knives here.

Key characteristics of a Higonokami knife include:

  1. Simple Design: Higonokami knives are known for their straightforward and minimalist design. They typically consist of a single blade that folds into a handle with a metal bolster.
  2. Friction Folder: Higonokami knives are friction folders, which means they lack a locking mechanism. Instead, they rely on friction between the blade’s tang and the handle to keep the knife open during use. When not in use, the blade can be folded into the handle.
  3. Traditional Craftsmanship: These knives are often handcrafted by skilled artisans using traditional methods and materials. The blade is typically made from high-carbon steel, while the handle is made from folded or stamped metal. Higonokami knives are known for their sharpness and durability.
  4. Signature Chikiri Line: One distinctive feature of Higonokami knives is the chikiri line, a small notch or lever at the base of the blade. This notch helps with opening and closing the knife and adds to its unique appearance.
  5. Versatile and Compact: Higonokami knives are versatile and handy tools suitable for various everyday tasks such as cutting, slicing, and opening packages. They are also relatively compact and easy to carry in a pocket.

Higonokami knives have gained popularity both in Japan and internationally for their traditional craftsmanship, simplicity, and functionality. They are often considered collector’s items and are appreciated for their historical significance and cultural value. While some modern variations and interpretations of Higonokami-style knives exist, traditional handcrafted versions continue to be sought after by enthusiasts.