Shinichiro Yamamoto willingly left what was a successful career as an architect to accept what he feels is his heritage. Growing up as the son of one of the most experienced traditional knife makers in Sakai, he says it was not a difficult decision.  Shin-san spent his life with his father’s workshop connected to his home.  He would play with broken pieces of steel on his days off, and sometimes after school. He never thought of his father as a prestigious master. His practice of this traditional craft was simply a natural part of life in their home. He cannot remember the precise moment he gave up his architectural career. He spent so much time in his father’s shop, he has forgotten when drafting was overtaken by knife making.

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.