Friends who love metal art are probably familiar with the name of Matsuda Kikuo. He has been to the Beijing Knife Exhibition, and we have met him. Due to language problems, we did not interview him. Many Chinese people love his designs and have a series of collections of his works. So what are the characteristics of his works? Why do so many people around the world like it? Today we will talk about the story of Matsuda Kikuo.
Descendants of Samurai Ingenuity
Matsuda Kikuo was born in Seki City, Japan in 1952 (it is also said that he was born in 1951), and he is 70 years old this year.
Seki City is the capital of knives in Japan. Since the Kamakura period in Japan (that is, the Song Dynasty in China), Seki City in Gifu County, Japan has been a gathering center for knife makers. It also brings together traditional handicrafts handed down here.
Grinding is a skill that requires talent and aura. Keeping a knife sharp for a long time is a very skill-testing project, even if you have a full set of sharpening manuals and very good tools. Many knifesmiths told me that for a small knife, the edge line must be nice and sharp. This skill may have been practiced for many years. Some people with low talents may not be able to master them in a lifetime.
Under the influence of a strong craftsman spirit, Kikuo learned the skills of grinding and polishing knives from his father since he was a child. He is a genius in knife grinding. Matsuda Kikuo can grind and polish knives in any angle and direction. Different from the ordinary grinding process, he can do anything that ordinary people can’t do on a knife through skilled techniques and unique techniques, whether it is 3D grinding of the knife, concave, hollow, flat, clam (convex), curved, double or triple grinding, and other grinding effects, he can complete. He once said that his fingers can move according to the imaginary picture in his mind.
Matsuda Chrysanthemum Works Hitting Wood
Legendary life two-way projection
Profound traditions and genius skills are just a prerequisite. To become a world-renowned master, you need to absorb new things. Only by chance and chance will there be a great person who is astonishing in the past.
The legendary American master loveless once supported Matsuda Kikuo. Loveless draws inspiration from Japanese knives and creates a series of extraordinary knives. At the same time, it also brought the advanced organizational form of American knives to Japan, which promoted the modernization process of Japanese knives.
In 1984, Loveless helped found the Japan Swordsmiths Association. Mihiko Taketo, Takeshi Saji, Kikuo Matsuda, Shinichi Kato, Masao Takahashi, Ryuichi Kawamura, and other famous Japanese swordsmith Harumi Hirayama, MS-level swordsmith Kiyoshi Kato, etc. are among them.
The exchange of cultures and the improvement of skills have always been two-way. Only through integration can innovation be achieved, and adhering to the weak is always the way to perish.
Works of william henry
Kikuo Matsuda has brought his skills to the American brand. After Matsuda Kikuo became famous, William Henry, an American luxury brand representing luxury and taste, found Matsuda Kikuo, and the two started a long-term cooperation. The grinding and polishing of all William-Henry’s custom-grade knives is entrusted to Kikuo Matsuda.
Today, we can see global elements from Kikuo’s works, which should be related to his experience. The names of Matsuda Kikuo’s knives all have profound Japanese local characteristics, and even have the influence of Chinese elements, but the shape of the katana is indeed All over the world, claw knives, kekri knives, and frame lock folding knives are all following the world’s top trends, and the total number is in the first echelon of custom knives. At the same time, it has a distinctive personal style, which allows you to recognize it briefly from the dazzling array of works. Look, this is the work of Matsuda Kikuo. His works are not only for Japan, but also for the world.
Integrating innovation and being unique
What is the difference between a master and a craftsman? I have exchanged this question with many knife makers. At present, the production tools are very advanced, and good materials can be used as much as possible. Why are there no original masters in the things made today, and only use crude handwork? Are the tools well made?
I think this lies in whether there is spiritual infusion. The difference between masters and ordinary craftsmen lies in whether there is spirituality in their works. Now there are many reproductions works, most of which only get the shape, but not the god in them.
The blade polished by Matsuda Kikuo is precise and perfect and has an incomparable sense of art that machine-made knives cannot match. This aura-filled craftsmanship is extremely difficult to inherit, and each work has its own charm. Every time a new knife is introduced, it will make enthusiasts swoon.
Let’s take this year’s Subaru 2nd generation folding knife as an illustration. This is a brand-new product launched in 2022. A total of 200 pieces have been made. The Subaru folding knife is the only folding knife made by Matsuda Kikuo.
Pleiades (aka Subaru)
I haven’t found any information on the origin of Subaru’s naming. I can only make a rough guess, which may not be accurate. Subaru is Japanese, which refers to the Pleiades in the Chinese constellations. It is one of the twenty-eight constellations in Chinese mythology, and the fourth constellation of the White Tiger Qisu in the West Palace. Also known as the Pleiades star cluster (called the Seven Sisters star cluster in the west), it is an open star cluster.
We see that this pocketknife has a blue flocculent surface treatment, which is somewhat similar to the scattered star clusters of the Pleiades. In particular, the pattern on the one-piece titanium handle can stimulate people’s imagination of the western stars. At the same time, this color and graphic treatment also complements the blade surface treatment of Matsuda Kikuo’s favorite random line blocks.
William Henry’s knives are generally very finely crafted, and I’ve always thought that they were built with the aim of men’s jewelry, and buying William Henry’s knives, among other pieces, is like a woman buying her favorite jewelry. They are solid works of art.
Although Ju Nan has served William Henry for many years, the design orientation of his works has nothing to do with the aestheticism. His works always give people a sense of strength and weight in the hand. Titanium overall frame, titanium is a strong and lightweight metal that can also be anodized into brilliant colors. However, the blade is extremely strong, and the main blade is convexly ground. More people in the industry like to call it clam grinding. In other words, if you want to be able to cut paper and cut iron, a fine convex grinder is suitable. It is also a Japanese brand, and most of Hanada Yang’s blades are clam-shaped, even for small folding knives.
What is particularly rare is that this small blade has undergone complex geometric processing. The curved curved blade is seamlessly connected to the recurved abdomen. Flat grinding and concave grinding exist alternately on the blade. Scandinavian grinding and flat grinding coexist harmoniously. The straight lines and random curves on the fake blade embody the charm of manual grinding. Dealing with such irregular graphics is undoubtedly a nightmare for CNC machine tools. More importantly, the processing of such lines is completely symmetrical on the other side
Generally speaking, if you actually feel it in your hands and experience the opening and closing, you will find that this guy exudes a kind of domineering, making you feel that he is a friend you can trust, and you will not be afraid of severe tests when you use it for practical operations. It gives you an instant confidence. Tell you directly, don’t just look at it from the perspective of art and culture, it is a practical tool that can accompany you for a lifetime, and then pass it on to your son and grandson.
In his twilight years, the hero is full of ambition. In his seventies, Matsuda Kikuo is still fighting on the front line of handwork and can still produce high-level works, which makes his fans rejoice. Just like many masters, the production capacity of some works that consume a lot of energy is very low, and some of them no longer accept orders, mainly those works that are difficult to grind and large in size.
We have received news one after another that Mr. Stallone’s royal knifemaker, Mr. Gil Hiben, who is in his 80s, no longer performs the knife himself. The founder of Mad Dog, Mr. Kevin McLane, who is in his 70s, must let go of his stubborn temper and ask his daughter to help. Today Mr. Matsuda Kikuo, who has entered the threshold of 70, will also face the enemy of time. In this context, every work of Matsuda Kikuo will be precious.
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