INTERVIEW with CRAFTSMAN
We interviewed Mr Takashi Yoshioka,
Yoshioka Knife Mfg. Co., Ltd.
representative and the successor of technology,
on behalf of the craftsmen.
I think it's a really fantastic job,
but what do you think of a career as a scissor craftsman?
It's a dirty, hot, cold, and heavy job, but I'm proud and confident that I can make scissors that support the work of gardeners, so I'm glad that you think it's a wonderful job." Many blacksmiths and cutlery artisans discourage the work due to its difficulty, though through Mr Yoshioka's words, this is not the image of a stubborn craftsman, but a humble and pure user. It conveys a lot of the appeal of crafting and the ease of using the shears.
Product manufacturing of Yoshioka Knife Mfg. Co., Ltd.
Making Yoshioka Knife Mfg. Co., Ltd. products in Ono City, Hyogo Prefecture, where Yoshioka Knife Mfg. Co., Ltd. is located, where the cutlery production center has been since the Edo period. The high level of technology that has been passed down to the current day. Meanwhile, Yoshioka Knife has begun making ""Rasha cutting shears (cutting shears/dressmaking shears)"". Currently, we are a comprehensive manufacturer of cutting tools that mainly manufactures gardening scissors used by gardeners, such as ""cutting scissors"" and ""planting scissors,"" while also making ""dressmaking scissors,"" that was our starting point.
Yoshioka Knife's brand ""Scissors Masamune"" is made with a focus on ""cutting well, using for a long time, and having a good balance when held"" so that even professional craftsmen can use it.
Reasons for re-sharpening
and maintaining more than 1,000 pieces a year
I was surprised to hear that more than 1,000 scissors sent from all over Japan are re-sharpened and maintained annually. Isn't that a hassle? When asked, ""It is important for scissors to undergo re-sharpening and maintenance,"" he said. ""By re-sharpening, you can understand the habits and characteristics of the planters, and only after researching and understanding, you can comprehend the challenges of making more advanced products."" When listening to the repair maintenance process, it is clear that the request does not come because it is cheap, but that there is a high degree of trust in reliable technology.
When re-sharpening, disassemble it once, sharpen many times while changing the count of all the blades, and carefully adjust the part where the blades rub against each other.
If necessary, the joining screws and handle will be replaced. But, when exchanging handles, if they think that they should exchange both the left and right handle, they may instead make the best use of the gardener's habits, and usability, only the necessary parts are exchanged. So they sometimes either will be exchanged.
""Scissors are not always in the best condition when new, but craftsmen and change how they use them according to their habits and characteristics, and sometimes they are completed only in that state.""
""I'm glad that people still want to use them even after re-sharpening, and that they trust our sharpening technology.
While listening to the story, I was thinking about what makes a good pair of scissors. Mr Yoshioka said, ""A good pair of scissors is not determined by the material or method, but shears that the gardener who uses it can trust in. I think that is a major premise. ""Interested in the mindset of Mr Yoshioka Knife, who has inherited that major premise from generation to generation, why is it said by professionals in planting and landscaping that ""there is a craftsman who gains tremendous trust in Ono City, Hyogo Prefecture""? I felt like I understood.
The exciting part of making scissors is the unexpected.
If you look at two of the same types of scissors, do they look the same? It isn't easy to replicate them, and it may look like you've only just started. He continued, "If my family hadn't been into this business, I wouldn't have become a craftsman. However, "The number of processes utilizing machines has increased in the present era, the precision of machines is high, but even so, the same thing cannot be done, because there are subtle errors. It is a craftsman's skill and experience to feel the errors and discomfort in each process's finish, make small corrections that are invisible, and finish it as precisely as possible. The inexplicable difficulty and commitment is also an enjoyable part of making scissors." Mr Yoshioka seems to enjoy this teaching moment, and there is still having much pleasure that only craftsmen who want to make better scissors understand. Can I feel that and become a scissors craftsman? The idea draws you into this charming vision for just a moment.
Lastly, please tell us about the "production area" and "local industry".
"I learned that it is imperative to have a ""production center"" for scissors and any industry such as cutlery and woodworking. To make scissors, it is crucial not only to have the technology. Having materials, machines and locations to process them and colleagues who can consult with them to make the right products. Mr Yoshioka. ""There are many types of steel, such as blue paper supermarket/blue paper/blank paper, and the characteristics are used properly for each product. Materials and machinery can be obtained because of the production area location. Some techniques can be written down or conveyed through words, but many can only be learned through experience and sensation. Once a blacksmith's technique is lost, it is not easy to recover. That is why the company has to inherit the materials, machines, and production areas, or we will not be able to protect the important craftsmen and techniques which will make it challenging."" I once again understood how vital the production area was. The local industry gives the impression of being archaic, but there is unique and invaluable expertise within.
- Since,1946 / Showa 21
- YOSHIOKA EDGED-TOOL WORKS
- third-generationTAKASHI YOSHIOKA
- Interviewer｜Akihiro Imamura