When discussing Japanese craft, most people will think of umami-enriched food, ukiyo-e woodblock prints or perhaps tea ceremonies. Great Big Story shines a light on an oft-neglected area of Japanese handiwork: scissors.
Yasuhiro Hirakawa is the last artisan of his kind. The blacksmith’s hand-crafted scissors, sold under his brand Sasuke, require a week of 10-hour-days to create, with ancient techniques informing the precise designs. Weighing in anywhere from $1,100 USD to $35,000 USD, the cutlery is certainly not for the faint of heart, but they fulfill the exacting needs of specialists like Masakazu Yoshikawa. Yoshikawa is a bonsai craftsman who requires extremely fine blades to avoid harming the delicate trees, and Sasuke’s pricey hardware is as good as it gets.
Watch the brief clip in full above.
For more examples of exquisite craft, take a look at Dries Van Noten’s painstakingly unique marble print raincoats.