Welcome to Japanese Knife Imports, Inc. We started as a small company... pretty much just a husband and wife team. We still are a small group of passionate knife dorks doing our best to educate people about Japan's rich culture and history, and the awesome knives they make. 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. Around my sophmore or junior year, 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 michelin rated and michelin level restaurants). 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).