Welcome to Japanese Knife Imports, Inc. We are a small company... well pretty much a husband and wife team. Our goal is to make high quality Japanese knifes from small makers available to you, outside of Japan. Here’s a little about how we got started with this.
I graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelor’s in Asian Studies. About a year before I graduated, I decided that I wanted to give the restaurant business a shot. On my breaks from school, I interned at various fine dining restaurants in Los Angeles as a cook.
Eventually, people started paying me to cook, and I stuck with it for a while. I have worked at some very highly regarded restaurants in the Los Angeles area, as well as in Japan and Italy (at a one star Michelin restaurant). While in Japan, I learned about Japanese kitchen knives... the different kinds, how to use them, and how to care for them. Up until that point, the best knife I had ever used was a MAC (which is worlds better than the german knives most cooks are using).
My chef in Japan bought me a Masamoto knife (a carbon knife, the likes of which i never had used before).
From that point I have never looked back. Over the years, I have tried many knives and waterstones, and experimented with many cutting and sharpening techniques. Now days, I continue to train... however, now I train with talented craftsmen and chefs in Japan every year. With sharpening, I have the opportunity to train with who I believe to be the best sharpeners in Japan. I also spend time with some of the top blacksmiths in both Sakai and Sanjo (as well as many other places).
I grew up in Haguro, Yamagata (Northern Japan) - imagine Ohio, with rice paddies instead of corn fields. My parents are accomplished artists, and, thanks to them, I was exposed to myriad of unique and creative individuals from Japan and other countries.
From early on, I was interested the world outside of Japan. This interest, combined with my artistic upbringing, gave me my intellectual curiosity. When I was 17, I left Japan to study in the U.S. for a month and Canada for a year. When I returned to Japan, I attended The Japan College of Foreign Languages, later transferring to Saitama University, where I majored in American Studies. My ever-lasting curiosity led me to apply for, and thankfully receive, a great scholarship, which I used to attend a master’s program in Journalism/Mass Communication at California State University, Northridge. I graduated from the program in December of 2009.
As I begun my Job hunt after school, I realized that I also wanted both my career and my life to be creative and fun. That is why I decided to help Jonathan start Japanese Knife Imports. Japanese knifes are not just knives - they are Japanese cultural products - simple yet sophisticated, with ever-lasting beauty. Japanese Knife Imports is my passion and a part of my dream.
And, so you have faces to connect to the names, here’s a picture of the two of us (courtesy of Stephen Siebold).