In the 16th century, the city of Sakai was called the Venice of the East and became prosperous as the center
of trade between Japan, China, and South Asia with the largest commercial district in Asia. Later, the golden
days of the city of Sakai were passed down from generation to generation, which formed the basis for the saying
"Everything appears first in Sakai."The origin of Sakai's knives can be traced back to the construction of the
Nintoku Mausoleum (Tomb of Emperor Nintoku), which is famous as the worldfs largest keyhole-shaped burial
mound. At that time, a vast amount of hoes and harrows were needed for the large-scale construction. To
manufacture such tools, blacksmiths came from throughout the nation to settlements in the area. During the
Tempo era, tobacco from Portugal became popular. As a result, demand for the knives used to cut tobacco
leaves increased. Consequently, blacksmiths in Sakai started to manufacture knives. The quality of the knives
was recognized by the Edo government of that time, and the knives were authorized as proprietary products
of Sakai. The knives were sold throughout the nation and carried the engraved stamp "Sakai Kyoku."Later,
when production of tobacco became mechanized and the demand for tobacco knives declined, blacksmiths
started to manufacture such kitchen knives as Deba, Yanagiba, and Usuba, which are used by cooks throughout
the nation. The traditional manufacturing methods and excellent skills of the craftsmen led to the knives being
designated traditional arts and crafts in 1982.
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