How Japanese Knives Are Made With Japan’s RAREST Steel

We’ve come to Hirata Blacksmiths to see how Japan’s rarest steel is processed to produce knives of unrivaled quality.

July 31, 2021

How are Japanese knives made? With the same techniques used to craft katana (samurai swords), modern Japanese knives are of some of the highest quality in the world. They don’t break or bend, they can slice through anything like butter, and they’re a beauty to behold.

This video was filmed at Hirata Blacksmiths (平田鍛刀場) on the outskirts of Tokyo. Sukehira Hirata and Nodoka Hirata are a married couple who craft Japanese blades made of the rarest steel in Japan. In fact, this is one of 3 workshops in the whole country, still producing the legendary Tamahagane steel (玉鋼).

Hirata Blacksmiths (平田鍛刀場):


The process of making Japanese Knives


1) Choosing the ore

2) Prepping the furnace

3) Melting/separating the rock and ore


  1. Start with the raw material Tamahagane (玉鋼)
  2. The tamahanage is then stamped into a flat sheet.
  3. The sheet is then broken into smaller pieces
  4. The pieces are sorted into either hard (kawagane) or soft (shingane)
  5. Pieces of similar quality are then stacked together.
  6. The stack is placed into a coal furnace at 1300 degrees
  7. Incisions are made for folding
  8. Each piece of steel is folded around 10 times
  9. The shingane and kawagane are shaped to fit together.
  10. They are then joined and welding together
  11. While the steel cools, the shape of the blade is hammered out
  12. The shape is further refined to include the tapered edge
  13. The blade is then filed down with a whet stone
  14. The blade is quenched using a mixture of clay and ash
  15. It’s heated again to 800-900 degree
  16. Quenched again
  17. Minor distortions in the metal are hammered out
  18. Polishing on the whetstone
  19. Even more refined polishing
  20. The blade is finished
  21. The name of the blacksmith is stamped onto the handle
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