Like many North American boys, I have been fascinated with knives and things that go 'cut' since my early childhood. As fate would have it, I ended up in Japan at the age of 18 where I fell into an apprenticeship with a 16th generation Yoshimoto bladesmith that lasted six years. Upon completion of that fortunate tutelage, I was asked to take the position of number seventeen in the Sakemoto family tradition of Yoshimoto bladesmithing. I believe I am the only Caucasian ever to have had the honor and privilege of this position.
I continued forging blades in Japan for twelve more years and in June 2001, I was awarded the rating of Mastersmith by the American Bladesmith Society, thus proving a degree of competency by Western standards. In 2005 I moved to the United States and have continued forging blades in Oregon since then. To date I have personally completed over 19,000 knives, the majority of which were one-of-a-kind pieces consistent with the kind of work done by old-world artisans.
I speak Japanese fluently and can read fairly well. I think that it would have been impossible to understand the "essence" of Japanese bladesmithing without the language ability and I am very thankful for it.
During these years I have been truly blessed to have had such wonderful customers. Many purchase additional knives while others simply stop by for a visit. This gives me an overwhelming sense of gratitude and humility. Your indications of satisfaction provides the motivation to produce the highest performance cutlery available in the world today.