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Help Support Nakaya Heiji


nakaya heiji

4-19-2011 UPDATE

Taking an Action

- Pray for Japan-



First of all, thank you again for taking an action to support Nakaya Heiji and their family.  We started collecting donation after the earthquake in Japan on March 11, 2011.  We were proud to have such thoughtful and caring customers, friends and families. 


We sent the entire donation to Nakaya Heiji last week, and it was safely transferred and received.  Here is a massage from Nakaya Heiji for all of you:


Thank you so much for your great support.  We are grateful that people around the world cared about us.  We can’t thank you enough for this donation. 


We have cleaned up our properties, including the store, workshop and house.  However, we still face aftershocks every day, and have been notified that even bigger aftershocks will come sometime soon. 


Under these circumstances, we have not been able to focus on our job – we have been preoccupied with cleaning, and strengthening, and reconstructing our buildings. 


We can’t thank you for your support, but we will do so by returning to our job and engaging in knife-making. 


Their home city, Mito, continues to face big aftershocks, and the radiation threat from the Fukushima nuclear plants.  However, they are staying strong and are reconstructing their places and their lives.  Our thoughts are with them, and we will continue to give you an update how they are doing. 


Here is a part of an email I sent to Nakaya Heiji in return – I think many people are feeling the same way: 


I am very glad that the donation was safely received.  We wanted to do something for you, as you have always been there for us.  We were fear stricken when we heard that you were affected by the 3.11 earthquake.   It made us feel very scared, sad, and pessimistic that we couldn’t do anything – anything we could do ourselves seemed so small and simply not enough. 


However, collecting donations really helped us – we gained hope again, and became somewhat positive in realizing that there was something we could do.  We were amazed and touched by the large number of our customers, friends, and family who participated in this.  Not only have they been generous, but they really care and they, too, wanted to do something.  So I thank you on behalf of everyone, for letting us do this for you. 


Northern Japan will never be the same after this tragedy.  But our thoughts are always with them, and as long as everyone works together, people will get through it.  Nakaya Heiji and his family, as well as everyone else who has been affected will hopefully be able to rebuild their homes and lives once again in the near future.. 


It has been over a month now, but Japan is still suffering.  It’s not over.  Nuclear plants are not stable yet, and continue to contaminate the area and the Earth with radiation.  This earthquake and tsunami claimed over 14, 000 deaths and 13,700 missing.  30,000 people left their homes for safer areas because their houses were destroyed, or their houses were too close to nuclear plants. 


Let’s keep doing what we can do to help and keep talking about it– after just a month, the news in the US has virtually stopped talking about it, and thus it has begun to fade away from people’s memory.  But the tragedy in Japan is ongoing, and they still need a lot of help, and probably will for many years to come.


Again, thank you so much to everyone who participated and everyone who continues to help out Japan in its time of need.  We are very happy that Nakaya Heiji and his family are moving in a positive direction and hope to see them back to making knives (which they really love) soon.


4-11-2011 UPDATE

We just got another e-mail from Nakaya Heiji.  It seems that in general things are picking up for them.  They are still cleaning up, the area continues to shake, and the radiation issue continues to get worse, but they seem to be ok.  In the e-mail they mentioned that in the past day or two there have been over 50 small earthquakes, so it makes it difficult to work.  However, it seems like they are really working hard to get back to knife making as soon as they can.  Their home took some damage, but turned out to be salvageable, as was their store.  However, many things were lost, destroyed, or damaged. 


A few days back, they sent a picture of their store front, where Sara and I have been.  Even after weeks of cleaning up, it was evident that there was still much to be done.  However, on the whole, things seem to be stabilizing a bit.  We will still be auctioning off some of Nakaya Heiji’s knives (which you will see on Kitchen & Knife in the next day or so).  However, in addition to supporting Nakaya Heiji and his family, we will also be donating profits to other broader relief efforts (including Red Cross Japan and similar organizations).


Up to this point, we have raised a little over $5000 for Nakaya Heiji and his family.  Sara and I want to sincerely thank everyone that has been a part of this.  The response has been overwhelming and quite moving.  Thank you so much.


At this time, we ask that if you wish to contribute, you support more wide spread relief efforts.  There are hundreds of thousands of people who have been severely affected by these disasters and they need all the help they can get.


Again, thank you so much.  We are so lucky and proud to have customers, friends, and family like all of you.



Jonathan Broida and Sara Motomura-Broida





In the past few days, Japan has seen some horrendous natural disasters- earthquakes and tsunamis.  The north-east part of Japan has been his pretty hard, especially with the failing nuclear reactors up there.  But many other areas have been hit hard as well.  One such area is Ibaraki.  Ibaraki is just a bit north-east Tokyo and is located on the coast.  It is in the prefecture of Ibaraki that Nakaya Heiji is based.  He and his son live and work in Mito City, in Ibaraki Prefecture.


Since the earthquake, we have been constantly on the phone with our family, friends, and business associates.  However, until just recently, we had not been able to get in touch with Heiji-san.  Yesterday, my wife Sara finally got him on the phone.  We were very sorry to hear that his home, workshop, and store had been destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami.


Many of our business partners have become more than just business partners to us- they have become friends.  Nakaya Heiji is no exception.  He and his family were gracious hosts to us when we visited them last year, and we communicate with them regularly.  We were deeply bothered by their loss and have been thinking about what we could do to help.


We have a few things we are planning on doing.  First, we will be asking our friends, family, and customer for any donations they would be willing to give to help Heiji-san and his family get their lives back together.  We’ve set up a donate button through Pay Pal.  Sadly, we are not a non-profit, so it is not a tax write-off, but you will be helping two very talented craftsmen (Nakaya Heiji and his son) get their lives back together and take care of their family.  You can donate here:



Anything you can give will help and be greatly appreciated.  We will be wiring this money directly to him.


In addition, we will be auctioning off some of the Heiji knives we currently have in stock.  All of the profits from these sales will be donated to Nakaya Heiji and his family.  You will see more about this very soon, but let me just say a couple of things first.  The prices will start at our list prices and will go up from there.  The idea is to get the maximum amount of money to send to Heiji-san and his family.  Again, 100% of the profits will be going to Nakaya Heiji.  We also will have a few remaining Nakaya Heiji knives for sale on our website as usual.  Just as the profits from our auctions will go to Heiji-san, 100% of the profits from these sales will do the same.  You can find Nakaya Heiji’s knives on our website here:


Nakaya Heiji Knives at Japanese Knife Imports

So, if you really want a Heiji knife, now would be a great time to get one.


Nakaya Heiji and his wife have been living together in Mito city, Ibaraki Prefecture for a while now.  He works together with his son in producing the knives, saws, and tools they make.  His son and his son’s wife have a young daughter.  We met everyone when we were there last December, and, as I said before, they were very gracious hosts.  Heiji-san produces some of the most amazing knives, saws, and tools I have.  And he does so with a depth of knowledge and skill above and beyond so many others.  To say he is impressive would be an understatement.  In addition, he and his son are exceedingly nice people.


For Sara and I, this is not only about helping out a friend in a time of crisis, but also part of the core values on which we started our company.  The arts and crafts communities in Japan are slowly dying as time goes on.  It is more difficult now days for craftsmen, such as knife makers, to make a living.  And fewer and fewer people are going into these fields.  When we started this business, we committed ourselves to supporting and trying to revive this community.  We do our best to pay our craftsmen a fair or better than fair price for their works.  We want them to be able to live on their work and train new craftsmen.  We also make a point of seeking out younger craftsmen and helping them develop their skills and their brands.  This helps us ensure the longevity of this community and hopefully, over time as we grow, will help engage younger people in these fields.  We truly love this artistic, craftsmen-filled side of Japan.  It is very close to our hearts.  Even Sara’s parents are a part of this community, as they support themselves by making traditional Japanese Pottery.


Nakaya Heiji and his son are prime examples of what is so great about this community and we hope you can see it the same way we do.  We humbly ask for your help in supporting our friend and his family.


We also ask that in the wake of these disasters in Japan, you take a look at some of the organizations participating in the rescue and relief efforts and offer your support there as well.  We have been donating money to the Red Cross, but really anything that is geared towards helping would be great.


Thank you so much.



Jonathan Broida and Sara Motomura-Broida

Japanese Knife Imports