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New book explores history and craftsmanship of Japanese knives

Knifewear founder shares his knife-nerdiness

October 23, 2018 by Centaine Tyler on Knifewear

Over the past eleven years since Knifewear opened, customers were constantly asking for a book on the Japanese knives the shops specialized in.

Now, Knifewear founder Kevin Kent is giving the people what they want with the impending launch of his first book, The Knife Nerd’s Guide to Japanese Knives, available in-store November 1 and wherever books are sold on November 15, 2018.

The book provided Kevin the opportunity to talk about the various types and intricacies of steel, craftsmanship, and care of knives one can get from Japan. He says he “goes on for about six pages on Damascus steel alone” out of the 320-page book.

The book also delves into the world of the blacksmiths, sharpeners, and handle-makers behind his favourite kitchen utensil.

“I think it’s important to understand that a real-live human, with a hammer, an anvil and a fire, made your knife,” he says. “It gives people a deeper connection to the knife as well if they can get to know the person who made it.”

As many authors can attest, finishing the book was no easy task. Kevin’s research brought him back and forth between Canada and Japan, getting to know the people he’d feature and indulging in some incredible Japanese food.

“I loved the creative writing process,” he says. “Except on the days where I didn’t like it.” Kevin’s process took him from Japan to various coffee shops around Calgary, before finally hiding himself away from the rest of the world in Lake Louise to finish his work.

“I could have picked a cave to lock myself away, but I picked a nice cave.”

Over more than a decade working directly with Japan’s knife industry, Kevin feels a strong connection with its people and culture. As Kevin explains, much of the market for Japanese knives exists outside of its own borders rather than within.

Last fall, he had the opportunity to talk to 1,500 high school students in Echizen about the importance of local products on the global market.

“I got to talk to them about how important the products from their little city are in Canada, and how these knife-makers are like rock stars to us.”


  1. Click here to pre-order The Knife Nerd’s Guide to Japanese Knives.
  2. In celebration of its release, Knifewear is hosting book launch parties in all the cities it operates. Click here to RSVP for the Calgary event on November 1, and get your copy signed by Kevin himself.
  3. Visit Knifewear in Inglewood to see these knives for yourself.
  4. Connect with Knifewear on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  5. Check out Knifewear’s Sustainability Profile on the REAP website.