In the world of Japanese knives, the name Yu Kurosaki instantly strikes a chord. Yu’s smile is the first thing that catches your eye when you visit his modern workshop, followed by his carefully selected outfit and a trendy haircut. Rubber gloves are placed in strategic places around the workstations, earning Kurosaki a humorous nickname “clean-handed smith” in the circles of blacksmiths.
He abandoned traditional education at sixteen and, after a year of searching, he found his position as an apprentice with the blacksmiths Hiroshi Katu in Katsushige Anryu at Takefu Knife Village in Echizen. He made his first knife in 2002 as a 23-year-old apprentice in the Kanehiro smithy and then, propelled by his extraordinary talent and thirst for knowledge, quickly climbed up the ranks. Today, his knives are popular among collectors, professional chefs and cooking buffs alike.
Between 2009 and 2013 he drew attention to himself and his work at numerous knife shows around Japan (Seki, Sakura and Matsumoto Knife Show) and was later prominently featured in two specialised magazines (Knife Magazine and hunting magazine Kemonomichi).
After working for 12 years as an apprentice, he founded his own smithy in 2014. Even at first glance it sets itself apart by precise, organised and contemporary design. Everything has its place and surfaces are free from many decades worth of soot and iron filings that are so characteristic of older workshops. The opening of his own, progressive company was followed by invitations to shows of knife forging and sharpening around the globe and his image appeared on the front cover of several publications on knives.
His love of forward-looking design and beauty is not only reflected in his personal style, minimalistic workshop and a fast car, but also – and most importantly – in his products sold under the recognizable brand Kurosaki Knives. His knives are extremely balanced, slender and light. Impeccable design of blades graced with drop-shaped hammer finish, horizontal lines and other graphic elements are Kurosaki’s hallmarks. It is evident that, in his knife manufacturing, Kurosaki places equal value on the use – the knife is first and foremost a tool – and aesthetics of final product.
He is the youngest blacksmith to be granted the title of Master Nokaji by the Takefu Knife Village Association. His confident moves and work methods can compete with those of his senior colleagues, while his boundless energy and insatiable desire for innovation are a source of inspiration for younger generations of blacksmiths.
A short interview with Master Yu Kurosaki:
I’m Yu Kurosaki, a knife smith, I’m 40 years old. I’ve been working as a blacksmith since when I was 22, I was taught by Master Hiroshi Kato...
Your favourite knife?
My favourite knife... It’s hard for me to pick one. Anything from Aogami Super and Aogami 2 steel.