Higo no Kami: the Original Japanese Everyday Carry Knife
by BeSparkLast updated: February 23, 2022
Keeping people prepared since 1894, the Higo pocket knife is the original EDC (Everyday Carry) knife!
Originating from the Miki, Hyōgo Prefecture in Japan, the knife rose to popularity as the demand for swords waned and blacksmiths found themselves inspired to provide new and useful tools for the public. But these aren’t just some souvenir or an attempt to make something for the sake of making something; the Higo pocket knife has endured and continued to be part of daily life in Japan and the world over for well over a hundred years now!
Two Higo knives - one brand new, one well loved for many years.
The unmistakable ‘K-Tip’ (kiritsuke tip) aesthetic is what usually catches the eye first. It looks kick-ass, and let’s be honest here, we’re talking pocket knives, so of course, looks are important! But it’s not just good looks that set these knives apart from classic western folding blades; it's the functionality. First off, that mean-looking drop tip lets you tackle more precise jobs. We’re talking about opening your mail, arts and crafts, and even simple woodworking. Second, we’ve got fantastic, simple geometry. I bet you weren't expecting a little high school math class, were you? The simple yet rugged V-shaped ‘Scandnavian-ground’ bevel allows the knife to take a wicked edge that's easy to keep sharp and easy to resharpen. Not only can you be a bit rougher on this little knife due to its sturdy backbone, but it's very easy to re-sharpen yourself!
The Higo pocket knife also brings style. Simple, elegant but rustic, old-school style. It has no locking system; rather, it is considered a ‘friction folder’. That means friction around the pivot point keeps the blade from flopping around freely. The iconic tang lever system, also known as a Chikiri, is used to not only open the knife with ease but also keep the blade locked open simply with pressure from your thumb. The handle? It’s shockingly comfortable for what is just a folded-over piece of steel. It really is that simple in its design! And simple means fewer pieces that can fail and require maintaining, repairing, or replacing.
Oh, and did I mention that most Higo pocket knives range from $22-$28? That’s right: A handmade pocket knife under $30! If you happen to lose one, your heart may hurt a little, but your wallet won’t feel so bad!
The classic Higo no Kami is a perennial favourite. It’s simple, rustic, and affordable. Nowadays, we also see a lot of different knife makers modifying and tweaking the original Higo design. If something with a more modern construction is your style, we’ve got you covered!
Nowadays, there are a wide range of sizes and styles of higo knife.