Skip to main content

Blacksmith: Yoshihiro Funaki

Blacksmith: Yoshihiro Funaki
Click here to view the collection.
Yoshihiro Funaki was born in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. His family, hailing from a lineage of shipbuilding blacksmiths, contributed to the thriving diplomacy centred around the large port in Kanagawa. However, Funaki's aspirations took a turn towards the artistry of blades.
After completing high school, he encountered a living national treasure – a sword smith. Initially desiring to become a sword smith, Funaki's perspective shifted during a conversation with the artisan. In the modern age, he recognized that a sword transcends mere practicality, evolving into an art form.
Reflecting on his childhood dreams, Funaki expressed, "I dreamed of being a sword smith as a child. But today, recreating the artistic crafts of the past is challenging, and the future of the forging profession remains uncertain."
Redirecting his focus towards practical blades, Funaki immersed himself in the world of knives. At 19, he became a chef in Kyoto, gaining firsthand experience as a knife user. A pivotal step followed at 22 when he apprenticed under a renowned kitchen knife smith in Kyoto, undertaking the craft of making and selling kitchen knives.
Completing an 11-year apprenticeship, Funaki, at the age of 33, ventured into independence, establishing his workshop in Kyoto. Here, he continues to craft knives, embodying his unique style.
Yamashiroden Kyo-Koji Shokei (Same inscription on the box, Funaki's brand name) (山城伝 京小鍛冶 祥啓)
Yamashiroden (山城伝): One of the five main styles of Japanese swords, specifically the style originating from Kyoto. Funaki, a Kyoto-based sword smith, adopts the title "Yamashiroden" in homage to his master, an inheritor of the sword smithing technique.
Kyo (Kyoto) (京): Referring to Kyoto, where he honed his skills and established his workshop.
Kokaji (小鍛冶): Derived from Noh, one of Japan's oldest theatrical plays, depicting the creation of a Japanese sword envisioned by the emperor.
Shokei (祥啓): A play on his first name, Yoshihiro. (Note: His real first name is Yoshihiro, but Funaki refers to himself as Shokei, the swordsmith.)
Characteristics of Kitchen Knives
Funaki's blades are distinguished by the lacquer coating on the kurouchi. After quenching, the blade undergoes the Burned Urushi process, where it is coated with lacquer at a low temperature of 120 degrees Celsius. This Burned Urushi technique serves to prevent rust and extend the life of the blade.
Inspired by the "Edo period Kiseru" and "Sengoku period spear," Funaki's kitchen knives pay homage to traditional Japanese craftsmanship.
Edo period Kiseru (a box for a small bottle of kiseru): The handle is wrapped with hemp cord and hardened with lacquer, mirroring the technique employed in wrapping rattan around the handle of a kitchen knife.
Sengoku-era spear: To prevent blood from dripping onto the hand after a thrust, a thin string of hemp or other material is wrapped around a little above the handle of the spear and hardened with lacquer.
When Tosho Knife Art’s co-founder, Ivan Fonseca, first came across these knives, he was very impressed with Funaki-sans’s attention to detail, steel treatment, as well as his burnt Urushi Kurouchi which has a deep black, ink-like finish.

Ivan wanted to sharpen and polish them to further bring out the potential of the steel character and details, in both the soft iron cladding and core steel.

Ivan and Funaki-san decided to work together to produce these unique knives for Tosho Knife Arts. We hope that the combination of Funaki-san’s masterful blacksmithing skills and Ivan’s renowned sharpening brings joy to the owners of these knives.

Your Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Click here to continue shopping.
Thanks for contacting us! We'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for subscribing Thanks! We will notify you when it becomes available! The max number of items have already been added There is only one item left to add to the cart There are only [num_items] items left to add to the cart