Echizen Consortium's 'iiza' Knives are the finest commerical knives available from Japan, a project spearheaded by Takefu Specialty Steel Company; which provides the finest laminated steel for every other high-end commercial kitchen knife.
Echizen Uchihamono forged blades can trace their orgins back nearly 700 years to Japan's Nanboku-cho period (1336 to 1392) when the renowned Kyoto sword smith Kuniyasu Chiyozuru began producing sickles and other agricultural blades in addition to swords for local farms in Echizen in what is now Fukui Prefecture. If is said that the whetstones used by Chiyozuru when creating a blade were carving into a komainu - the guardian dog found at the entrance to shrines, which were then dropped into a well. This was intended to incorporate Chiyozuru's wish as a craftsman that his blades would not be used as weapons for taking human life and would only act as a symbol of the warrior. This philosophy of creating blades for not taking a life but for use as an "ultimate tool" has been continued to this day by the craftsman who still produce Echizen uchihamono forged blades.