Our metalworking history began since 1625. The first products were Japanese nails. Until now, we keep doing metalworks. There are however some changes in products. Accordingly, the area became a place as artisan works. 
Handmade Japanese nails made in Sanjo
Sanjo is in the middle of Echigo plain. Agriculture has been the main industry from long ago until now. Historically, Sanjo suffered from flood often. Therefore in 1625 nail production was introduced in addition to the mainstream agricultural jobs. Nail production was definitely not affected by flood.


Sanjo was also the trading point in the region. It’s at the confluence point of two rivers. Metal-products together with farm-products were traded using water transportation. The area was developed by combination of production and trading.

 Ikarashi river in Sanjo


Applying the technique of making nails, other metal-tools from farming amenities to other varieties knives, scissors, saws, hatchets were presented. 

At first, making nail was side job of the farmers. When trading with other area increased, full-time manufacturers were established. They were all independent proprietors. The industry was founded by individuals. Governors or big capitalists or glorious hero were not needed. Micro business establishments, with individuals or family members, were our traditional style. Independent proprietary spirit dominated in this area.


Hand Axe


After the World-War II, metal-tools production transformed into mass production in factories. Many homemade style workshops disappeared.

My great-grandparents and their son, my grandfather, were doing metalworks in their home. They suspended it about 70 years ago. 

Blacksmith in workshop

Some independent workshops are still retained. They have survived hard time. Now, their products are valued as beautiful crafts. Their works are exported to Europe, America, Australia and some Asian countries. 

Japanese Razor