It is a long time since and swordsmith, Shigeyoshi Iwasaki worsens physical condition. The Tamahagane Japanese razor which Iwasaki Seisakusyo(mill) produces has already disappeared from the market.
It was almost 45years ago when I met Iwasaki old man. Structure of metallurgy, forging including the quenching…I was taught these things by him.(but, it was only a few piece of all.) And, we used to go to bars together at night.
By the way, I have one Japanese razor which master craftman; Kosuke Chiyozuru made. It was a present to Kosuke Iwasaki from Korehide .(Kosuke Iwasakii is a father of Shigeyoshi Iwasaki.) But, Kosuke Iwasaki had handed that over to me from my hope for several decades ago. This dignity Japanese razor of Korehide…While I looked, a certain form came into my mind. I always thought that I want to realization several kind of forms (picture) .
I visited to the Iwasaki Seisakusyo (mill) about two years ago. It was for ,go visiting Swordsmith:Iwasaki. It was a master of blacksmith; Ryoichi Mizuochi.who invited me. He is mysterious one. I took out an aura as I unintentionally when I met him. He was a senior fellow disciple of swordsmith; Shigeyoshi Iwasaki. He has a profound knowledge of metallurgy and the skill of forging has a good first rank, and he is a noble-minded one. His personality is such a great. He is the Kaji（blacksmith）who I respect among active Kaji（blacksmith）most. He looks after Iwasaki seisakusyo（mill）alone, and he continues to work hard alone because of making Japanese razor.
When I had a pleasant chat with such a master of Kaji（blacksmith）,Mizuochi, he asked me this incidentally, “Do you want to make something?”. I doubted my ears instantly. But, I answered this soon, “A Japanese razor of Tamahagane”.It was unconsciously. He said, “Tamahagane? It’s difficult”. But, I saw smirk on his face. Oh, he walked briskly, then ha has gone into the factory. He also said “I haven’t made Japanese razor of Tamahagane”.However, he was starting to look for training materials of Tamahagane while I was saying like that.
At first, Mizuochi showed me how to make it, and he said “ You are the maker”.
I do model-learning but, I am running fire of insistence on better work.
However, Mizuochi praised me only one thing. It was about beating with machine hanmmer that I could operate little. All of the work has over 30 processes. There is their original and unique process that was created by the history of Iwasaki seisakusyo.
I made the time for going to the Iwasaki mill of Sanjo-city desperately. I took it my home with me before the quenching. And, I tried to make the shape of handle of Tamahagane razor slightly and carefully little every day.
I visited Sanjyo again soon. And, I finished it with heat treatment method include processes of quenching, tempering and grinder. I considerably concentrate with these process. I felt time to be considerably long. Great quality Synthetic whetstone which is special order from Iwasaki seisakusyo(mill) and Kyoto maruka syouhonyama natural whetstone…,I completed this razor after I passed through many processes using such unique stones. Finally, this Tamahagane razor was born.
This Tamahagane razor has 3type of shapes; The spring of Kouanji, The summer of Kouanji and The autumn of Kouanji. (“Kouanji”is the address of Iwasaki mill.) I have the memory of Iwasaki mill in each season. And, this is also the work for Shigeyoshi Iwasaki. I pray for recovery of his health.
Of course, I’m not a professional of forging. Forging Japanese razor is most difficult prodaction in Kaji work. So, great lecturer; Mizuochi helped me about all of important and vital part in all processes. Particularly, about final finishing; blade edging is extremely difficult. But, his work for it is really great. His razor is so sharp it can slice through a single human hair held upright with the just slightest touch of its blade. No one surpasses Mizuochi in this work. It looks like the work of God. “There are in the world as many who can see as many can’t see.”He murmured it….
Thank you so much for master craftsman, Ryouichi Mizoochi Kaji (Blacksmith).