Despite the overwhelming popularity of Japanese knives for the crafting of authentic, delicious Japanese delicacies, not all knife brands are widely accepted and trusted by professionals. Among the famous Japanese knife brands, only a few live up to its name – and that includes Shigeki Tanaka.
Shigeki Tanaka knives are manufactured in an old-fashioned workshop in Miki City, Hyōgo Prefecture by Shigeki Tanaka and a small team of his employees. The knives are known for its unique designs and are forged through traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations.
History of Shigeki Tanaka Knives
A fourth generation blacksmith, Shigeki Tanaka’s knives are well-known not only in Japan, but also around the world. His great grandfather, Mr. Gentaro, started making sickles during the Meiji Period, and Tanaka’s grandfather and father also specialized in manufacturing sickles. Born into a family of blacksmiths, it’s no surprise Tanaka followed in their footsteps and also became a successful blacksmith as it seemed this was his destiny. In 1995, Shigeki was just a child when his grandfather, father, and uncle started a company together, and this is where Shigeki’s desire to become a blacksmith began. To develop the skills required and further hone his talent, Shigeki moved from his hometown of Miki to Takefu, Fukui Prefecture to study the art of blacksmithing. It was in Takefu where Shigeki would learn and develop most of his knowledge and skills, as the town of Takefu is famous for having over 700 years of forging history and where many traditional forging techniques were developed. After three years of training, Shigeki would return to Miki City to work at his family’s factory. In 1999, Shigeki would begin transitioning to manufacture kitchen knives under the brand Shigeki-saku.
With the demand for sickles decreasing, the family began producing kitchen knives as an extra source of income, and in 2000, the company was renamed to Tanaka Kazayuki Blade Manufacturing Co. Once Shigeki took control of the company after his father passed away, he began focusing on manufacturing high-quality, handmade knives which would attract much attention amongst blacksmiths in the city. As his knives grew in popularity, many chefs would begin taking notice and not only use the knives, but recommend them as well. Shigeki would also produce unique knives that mixed modern culture with traditional designs.
One special collection of knives produced by Shigeki that attracted the interest of the public, in particular Generation Z, was his Gothic Knife Series. This line of knives mixed Japanese Gothic-Lolita fashion with traditional craft, and would further fuel the brand’s popularity due to its uniqueness.
Features of Shigeki Tanaka knives
Another one of Shigeki’s popular knives is the Juliette. In the media and on the internet, this knife is known as the “Lolita Knife” or “Goth-Loli Knife”. This knife is a new style of Japanese knives, and was create to appealing more to the younger Japanese generation. While the knife has caught the public’s attention, it is still a very capable knife that’s handy in the kitchen, features sharp edges, and is forged using traditional techniques.
Mikhail is also another uniquely designed kitchen knife produced by Shigeki Tanaka. The knife was designed on the image of an angel dressed like a bride, and the wings were crafted in a way to look as if they were falling. The blade has a cross cut out, and there is a chain on the knife. Both the blade and the accessory can be removed, and the knife is made of Damascus steel.
A fourth generation blacksmith, Shigeki Tanaka has successfully led the company his grandfather started into the modern era while retaining its heritage by producing knives which appeal to the public, and in particular, Generation Z. His unique designs has brought his company and its knives considerable publicity. Despite this, Shigeki continues to operate out of a small, old-fashioned workshop and hand makes all his knives, which continue to be high-quality, well-received, and reliable. If you’re looking for a unique kitchen knife, Shigeki-saku is a brand you need to check out.