View Full Version : Yoshihito Aida


dogman
04-23-2001, 12:46 PM
I have seen some of his awesome work in the books, but I haven't seen any in person. Does he do any shows in the U.S.? Has anyone else seen his work? It is very Loveless-esque, but looks super, super, clean.

Speaking of Japanese makers, besides Kouji Hara, does anyone know any Japanese makers that make a knife that stands out as their own style? I know many of them make Loveless-style knives and take a good pattern and make it super clean. Takahashi comes to mind.

So is that the Japanese maker "comfort zone"...to make superior renditions of existing patterns? I know Emerson and Elishewitz are very popular in Japan. Even so, I don't seem to see a lot of Japanese tactical style knives along those lines.

JerryO13
04-24-2001, 10:22 AM
Dog, he was at ECCKS 2001, but I must admit I didn't catch his stuff.

Les Robertson
04-26-2001, 08:35 AM
Bob,

Alot of Japanese makers were heavily infulenced by Loveless. He was kind of a starting point for their custom knife makers who were making non-tradional patterns. Remember the Japanese were building custom knives hundreds of years ago.

I did look at Yo####o's work at the ECCKS, perfection is a good word. The same with DF Kressler (his prices have come down, you should look at getting some of his work). He is on my list for the next ECCKS, I don't know if he is coming to the Guild Show.

There are alot of Japanese makers who do other styles of work besides the Loveless type. However, most of them never make it to the US. Koji Hara is an example of this. I did notice at the ECCKS that he was starting to make fixed blades again.

The only disadvantage the Japanese makers have selling knives here in the US is the prices they have to charge. Most are non-competitive with the knives made here in the states. The cost to come here from Japan is substantial. Having flown back and forth to Korea in coach a few times, I can tell you it is not something you look forward to.

When you attend the major shows, especially the Guild Show. There will be several Japanese makers. Check out their work. Also, the guys from South Africa do excellent work as well.

dogman
04-26-2001, 08:51 AM
I will defintely be at the Guild Show, since it is a 45 min. drive from the house:)

My impression is that they take the Loveless working pattern and turn it into presentation grade. In one of the Weyer books (POI 2 I think), there is a gut hook skinner by Aida that just jumps off the page at me. I have been striving to shape my handle material as he does on that knife.

srjknives
05-03-2001, 01:02 AM
Check out these guys that were at the Solvang show last week-end. You'll be pleased:

Shun Fujikawa....beautiful folders with truly amazing inlays in the handles, even the pearl.

Stan Fujisaka....yeah, he's from Hawaii, but very nice folders.

Kouji Hara....you already know his work, beautiful!

Yoshindo Yoshihara.....as good at the traditional Japanese knife as there is, I believe. Amazing!

Doc Weston
07-16-2003, 09:08 AM
Pardon the way late reply-post on Aida, but this will have to do as my first entry on this board after giving the posts a once-over:

+--> It is very Loveless-esque

Not too tough to figure - Yoshi was a Bob Loveless apprentice / understudy years back.

+

+--> So is that the Japanese maker "comfort zone"...to make superior renditions of existing patterns?

Depends on your perspective.

In one sense, the Japanese in general have been notorious for that in art and business for a half century.

The other perspective - the one that applies to Yoshi - is the relationship between Master and Disciple, which Yoshi considers sacred. This is the old tradition of sempai-kohai here in Japan.

Bob's picture has a prominent place in Yoshi's shop. And one of Bob's old shop aprons - and a pair of his overalls - are reverently displayed in Yoshi's shop out of deference. This, rather than Yoshi representing himself as lone ranger genius (which he also is), which he could get away with very easily over here. But he opts instead to memorialize Bob's influence on his life for all to see.

Yoshi's shop is constantly crowded with not only custom-blade customers, but also literally dozens of other KNIFEMAKERS here. In this respect, he's as close as it gets to the Pope of modern custom knifemakers here.

In short, Yoshi is a master. But he's one who openly, humbly acknowledges his sempai. And he does so with justifiable pride.

Ironically, few Japanese here take the hint and buy Loveless patterns from him. Most of his work, and revenue, come from custom work and a handful of his own blades which have gone to major, repeated production runs over here.

Sorry for the long first stab at posting - but I felt this one warranted the War n Peace version.

Doc Weston
Tokyo, Japan
.

whv
07-16-2003, 11:58 AM
good info, doc. and welcome to ckdf.
thanx

Doc Weston
07-16-2003, 11:32 PM
Thanks Wayne.

For those who might be tempted to think Yoshi's reverence for Bob Loveless as his sempai is exaggerated, Yoshi has an entire virtual museum devoted to the old Master, e.g.:

http://www.riverside-land.com/museum/prof.htm
http://www.riverside-land.com/museum/igyou.htm
http://www.riverside-land.com/museum/tenji.htm
http://www.riverside-land.com/museum/goroku.htm

These include a Loveless bio, Loveless-ism's (some of Bob's pearls), and his blade work.

This kind of thing took balls of steel on Aida's part, as he stood a good chance of being sorely ostracized by 500-year old lines of Japanese blademakers here. Instead, he is regarded as a pioneer and fine craftsman.

I'll have more soon on this subject if there's any interest in the story and a related project in the coming months.

Doc

hammerdownnow
07-17-2003, 04:50 AM
Doc, It would be nice to see the link in English:p Does Yoshi own that old Delaware Maid I think they were called. Bob sure does have a way with words. "Red liners are like lipstick on a pretty girl" I am sure anything you are willing to share will be well appreciated. Thank you. Roc

Doc Weston
07-17-2003, 09:14 AM
Doc, It would be nice to see the link in English:p

True - it would have saved me years of Japanese language study.

I'll be putting my vote in with Yoshi to create an English version web site.

Does Yoshi own that old Maryland Maid I think they were called.

Good question. I hope to have answers to that, and alot more, in the very near future.

Bob sure does have a way with words.

Yoshi tells me Bob and I share a lot in common in that respect - creative one liners and peculiarly... blunt. If I have my way, the three of us will be sitting in the same room in the not too distant future.

If this materializes, I'll be sure to pass it along.

Doc

dogman
07-17-2003, 10:43 AM
We would definitely be interested. I have chatted a few times with Bob on the phone, but we discussed guns mostly:D

ExamonLyf
07-17-2003, 05:00 PM
Kan Sai (sp?).., is another maker that comes to mind. Incredibly smooth small gents folders, with a very slickly engineered bearing system at the pivots.

I'm sure someone has more detail, but I've seen his work at a number of shows in recent years. Very nice stuff!

Doc Weston
07-17-2003, 07:49 PM
... I've seen his work at a number of shows in recent years. Very nice stuff!

If you're talking about Aida's work:

Yoshi will be the first one to tell you he is an artist and custom craftsman before he's a utility man. His blades reflect that.

But I have an all-business design on the menu with him which will change that.

He tells me this will be the first design he's taken on of anyone else's conception (other than Bob's and his own).

That wasn't what I intended, as I originally took my 12 year old son to meet him as part of my "Daddy's World Masters Introduction Tour" over here (weapons makers, martial artists, fine arts figures, writers, etc - - - I want the clone to have direct contact with the great ones, up close and personal). But one thing led to another and, one year hence, it appears we'll start on my fighting knife design in mid August.

We'll see what happens.
.

Doc Weston
07-17-2003, 07:59 PM
We would definitely be interested. I have chatted a few times with Bob on the phone, but we discussed guns mostly:D

Any discussion with me on guns would be short, as 30 plus years in 30 plus countries has made me both picky and practical.

With the advantage of advance planning and a healthy budget, I go high end in a narrow range of mfrs and models. Glock, Sig, HK.

Ruger or Colt when a hushpuppied bull barrel .22 is on the menu.

If flying by the seat of somebody else's bunched-up panties, Il picked throwdowns with the best feel - even Bersa or Lama. Unless I was able to steal something cheaper.

Same for utility blades. For years I used a Gerber Parabellum because it was cheap, drew fast, and got visual attention real quick when snapped open.

"Old fart" probably fits me.
.

swissdagger
08-08-2003, 03:29 PM
One maker comes to my mind: Ryuichi Kawamura
He is one of those younger custom knifemakers in Japan. He makes mostly traditional slip-joints. Here again.... absolutly stunning fit and finish! Perfection.
I could handle some of his knives while I was living in Japan.

His homepage http://www008.upp.so-net.ne.jp/ryu-knives/

Mail4Tim
08-11-2003, 06:45 AM
Here is a couple of photos of another Japanese maker that I recently discovered. His name is Takeshi Saji. The photos really don't do the knives justice. The small neck knife has become one of my favorites.

The blades are a copper, brass and steel combination that is laminated onto a "white steel" cutting edge. Sorry I can't give you any other info than that. I'm still trying to uncover the info. My Japanese is poor at best so it is taking me a while. I plan on attending the Seki-city outdoor knife show this coming October. Hopefully I will have a chance to speak to Saji-san and find out a bit more.

Tim

http://members.aol.com/mail4tim/images/saji%201.jpg

http://members.aol.com/mail4tim/images/close%20up%201.jpg

Kevin Wilkins
09-02-2003, 04:01 PM
White Steel is a carbon toolsteel made by Hitachi in, you guessed it! - Japan. It's sold in Germany by Dick Fine Tools but to be honest, it offer no advantages (known to me) over any other good, clean carbon toolsteel such as 1095 or O1.

Mail4Tim
09-02-2003, 06:43 PM
Kevin,

You are correct. My research has brought me to the same conclusion. White steel is a good, fairly common, (here in Japan) tool steel. I believe the main reason for selecting this type of steel is availability. I?m still hoping to meet the maker in October and hopefully, language issue permitting, get some additional info on his technique. I find the combination of the three different colored metals striking and just want to know more.

Tim

Kevin Wilkins
09-03-2003, 02:14 AM
Those blades really look cool. I'd be interested to know what such a knife costs, maybe I can afford one!

A smith friend of mine here made 2 billets for me where the cutting edge is white steel and the outside is very old swedish anchor chain. I made 2 folder blades from the stuff and the pattern is really cool. If I get caught up on my orders, I hope to finish up a couple of folders soon!

ellis
09-03-2003, 02:59 PM
I have a couple of Aidaknives as well as over 60 Loveless knives.Aida's workmanship is exceptional,his handle material selection is also great.I have one of his New York Specials with snap,amazing piece of work,
Dave Ellis

Mail4Tim
09-03-2003, 06:41 PM
Kevin,

I don?t remember exactly but I think Saji-san?s knives in this style run between 10,000 and 25,000 yen each (117 yen = $1 US). I found these at a knife store in Kyoto. I usually stop in there every couple of months so the owners have gotten to know me. They speak a little English and I speak a little Japanese and we sometimes resort to using a Japanese / English dictionary but we manage to communicate. I?ve done an internet search on the maker and have found a lot of his knives, mostly kitchen type, but none of this style. I get the impression they are fairly new. If you are interested I will check with the store the next time I?m there and see if they have a web site or at least email. I?ll let you know.

Tim

Kevin Wilkins
09-04-2003, 02:57 AM
Tim: that would be great! Thanks very much. The prices dont seem out of line. If you need anything from Germany, let me know! Maybe I can fax you a case of good German beer! :-)

whv
09-05-2003, 04:27 PM
dave - welcome to ckdf!
.
if you are able, i would certainly enjoy seeing you post some pics of those 60 loveless and the aida knives!!!
thanx

Doc Weston
09-21-2003, 10:40 PM
My last face to face with Aida was three days ago. I already asked him about photos at our next meet and he agreed. I'll add what I can to the mix after my next sit down (and some shop time) with him in October.

To the extent possible, the pics will include the Aida brothers, the shop, Aida & Loveless blades, and a joint fighting blade project.

If anybody has specific questions or points of interest, let me know here before 1 October, and I will pass them on for response.

I've already mentioned an English language version of his web site, and will be nudging him again on that point.

Tim - FYI

Jim Breen's 60,000 word Jp-Eigo dictionary has an online Palm Pilot version download (free).

I still look like a dumb gaijin doing word searches in mid-conversation, but I always get the right word.
.

bbeishline
09-23-2003, 02:45 PM
When speaking of Japanese makers I think it would be a disservice to overlook Harumi Hirayama. She has a very distict and beautiful style - a touch of feminine grace in all of her designs. With her you're definitely not going to get the same thing that everyone else is making.

Ben

Mail4Tim
09-23-2003, 07:07 PM
Doc

Thanks for the tip. I'll do a search for the dictionary. At this point I'm long past worrying about looking like a dumb gaigin. I am what I am, but I'm always looking for improvement.


Ben,

You are correct! Hirayama-san has some of the most distnctive work I have ever seen. I will be attending the October show in Seki and I'm hoping to see her there.

Tim

Doc Weston
10-28-2003, 01:18 AM
Got a couple pics of the new Aida Weston fighter prototype (work in progress) which was displayed at the JKG show in Tokyo Sunday.

If anybody has a tip on uploading images directly from disk, I'm all ears.