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.
The above video, filmed during Mr. Sakemoto's visit to Murray's shop in Oregon in 2014, outlines the rich and unique history of Murray's Yoshimoto bladesmithing lineage, which spans over 420 years. Enjoy the energetic and enthusiastic interviews between Murray, 17th generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith and 16th generation, Mr. Sakemoto.
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