Hideaki Yamamoto known to us as "Hide"
Seventy-five years ago, at the age of thirteen, Hideaki Yamamoto started learning to make knives in the traditional Japanese way. To this day he is still developing his own brand Hide, together with his son. " Every single one of my knives is unique," he says. "When I make a knife, I imagine the person who will use it. What are his or her expectations? How will the knife be used?"
Master Hide was born in the city of Sakai with its long traditions of forging and knife making. As a child, he could hear the blacksmiths hammering and the sound of craftsmen sharpening knives all over town and he took an interest in the art of blade making. "A handmade knife has a special feel to it. A knife made in a factory is just a knife, it has no soul. A well made Hide knife really becomes a part of your body."
Japanese food culture requires good knives, and the art of his craft has developed from that need. Many of Master Hides customers are renowned chefs with very high standards. He takes great pride in meeting their demands and never compromises with quality. The only important thing in his work is to make the customers satisfied.
To be a craftsman is to strive for improvement, even when you have become a master. The requirements for the knives changes and new techniques develop. Every knife is a brand new challenge and every one of the customers has his own wishes.
"I can not remember all the little mistakes I have made during the years, but I do remember all that I learned from them." says Master Hide. "I need to keep improving. The day I no longer learn is the day I die."
Both Father and Son have been and are still very active in shows and competion.
- 1987 The Chief Director’s Special Award at Sakai Uchihamono Riki Association Competion
- 1994 Merit Award at The Design Competition of Sakau Uchihamono International 94
- 1998 Encourager/Patron Prize at Japan’s Traditional Craft Exhibition for Youth
- 2000 Prize at Japan’s Traditional Craft Competition in Morioka
- 2001 Governor’s Award at the Traditional Craft Competition of Osaka Japan’s Traditional Craft Competition in Matsue
- 2002 Prize at Japan’s Traditional Craft Competition in Okinawa
- 2003 Prize at Japan’s Traditional Craft Competition in Toyama
- 2004 Prize at Japan’s Traditional Craft Competition in Fukushima
- 2005 Sakai-city Commerce Chairman’s Award at Sakai Hamona Competition Osaka Foundation for Trade & Industry’s Chairman’s Award at the Arts & Crafts Association of Osaka Exhibition
- 2006 The Japan’s External Trade Organization (JETRO) Osaka Branch Chairman’s Award at the Arts & Crafts Association of Osaka Exhibition
- 2007 Kansai Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry Director’s Award at the Arts & Crafts Association of Osaka Exhibition
- 2008 Kansai Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry Director’s Award at the Arts & Crafts Association of Osaka Exhibition
- 2009 Osaka Foundation for Trade & Industry’s Chairman’s Award at the Arts & Crafts Association of Osaka Exhibition
- 2010 Japan Mint Director’s Award at the Traditional Craft Competition of Osaka
- 2011 Living/Life Award at the Japan’s Traditional Craft Competition
Under his father’s tutelage and through a great deal of discipline, he achieved official status as a master more than 25 years ago. Although he has never placed lower than third in the National Traditional Japanese Knife Competition, he still works under the watchful eye of his father.
When I myself underwent training in the Hide shop, I would often overhear his father teasing him about the fact that, even though his official status as a Master, he still has a lot to learn.
I am fascinated by their dedication to perfection and learning. Although they are two of the most respected masters in Sakai, it is humbling that both father and son still strive to better there skills.
Shin san is a collector of antiques, and is very involved locally and internationally in educating and sharing his love of traditionally knife making. He is active in the preservation of Sakai's historical heritage. He keeps a very close relationship with the finest chefs in Osaka, listening and adapting to their needs. He has a special relationship with traditional blacksmiths, each offering a specific insight to forging the different types of steel for Shin san.