Century-old Kamaasa Shoten is located in Kappabashi Dogu-gai (Kappabashi tool street), together with many wholesalers of eating utensils and cookware. While the company markets many cooking tools, it is famous for a wide selection of Japanese knives that attracts visits from cooks around the world.
The fourth-generation president, Daisuke Kumazawa, offers an intriguing explanation of “ryo-ri” — which means “cooking” in Japanese, but he spells this word with unusual kanji characters as “good logic/rule.” He says, “Good tools have a reason. I want pass on the essential value of these highly respected, long-loved tools to future generations.” While Western cutlery serves to cut and divide food portions, Japanese cutlery reveals cross-sections of food material, preparing it for attractive presentation. Moreover, cross-sections affect not only appearance but food taste as well. Indeed, the elegance of washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) largely depends on cutlery.
To enhance essential understanding of cooking tools, Kamaasa staff visits the ateliers of Japanese cutlery craftsmen and talks to these artisans several times a year. President Kumazawa emphasizes his company’s role as a bridge, helping craftsman communicate their attitudes, associations, and technical artistry to cutlery users. Accordingly, the extensive Kamaasa Shoten store offers a table where staff and customers have sufficient space and time for conversation.
Thick or thin knife blades, wide or slim handles, Japanese or Western styles... there are numerous types of cooking knives. In professional stores like this one, users should pick up tools and get a feeling for them while discussing the most appropriate cutlery. Even after purchase, customers can consult with store staff, and if a knife becomes dull, they can count on edge-sharpening services.
Craftsmen, cooks, and Kamaasa Shoten company have honed a successful three-way partnership through years of cooperation. Yet another good example of the service tradition of hospitality that distinguishes Japan.
Note: Knives available in Kamaasa Shoten are not sold in Mitsukoshi or Isetan.