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:
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.
Jonathan Broida and Sara Motomura-Broida
Japanese Knife Imports
Leave a comment