Nikken Cutlery: the Japanese way of the scissor blades (and nail clippers)
Seki city, in Gifu prefecture, is known across Japan as the ‘cutlery capital’. (In the same way Imabari city in Ehime’s famous for those soft, high-quality Imabari towels.)
The city’s been the home of Japanese sword production for over 700 years – wow. Visit in October to catch the annual Seki cutlery festival, a 2-day event with entertainment, traditional bladesmithing and swordsmanship demos, and 1km of street stalls.
If you want Seki-made, proper stuff direct from Japan, try Nikken Cutlery.
The first weird thing about Nikken Cutlery is that they don’t make cutlery. The knives they sell are letter openers, and you won’t find forks or spoons on the item list. More like lots of pairs of scissors.
Promise us you won’t try and cut any flowers with these…
Cocone scissors are made to look like colourful flowers and healthy green leaves. They’re not named after different types of plants, just ‘pink’, ‘purple’, ‘yellow’, and that ‘leaf green’.
They come with a handy flowerpot for storage, that you can also fit pens, paperclips and other small stationery in around the edges. Cute way to keep your desk tidy.
The half-translated Japanese item page has this perfect line:
You feel like putting the scissors back into this stationery stand unconsciously.
What they mean is, tidying up after using cocone scissors to cut stuff won’t feel like a chore.
Like flowers growing up from the soil, cocone scissors are unique in a real subtle way. Each pair’s made one by one – they’re not mass produced. Buying one is like picking your own flower from a bunch.
Katana paper knives
When Nikken Cutlery first tried crowdfunding this idea, they hit their 1 million yen target within 24 hours. Everyone wants to open their envelopes like a badass.
Most of the katana paper knife designs are named for famous samurai and/or members of the Shinsengumi, a 19th-century special police force in Japan. They’re up to at least 12 by now:
- Soji Okita
- Isami Kondo
- Hajime Saito
- Keiji Maeda
- Ieyasu Tokugawa
- Hideyoshi Toyotomi
- Takamori Saigo
- Shingen Takeda
- Yukimura Sanada
- Masamune Date
- Ryoma Sakamoto
- Nobunaga Oda
Sure, maybe you’ve got no idea who most of those guys are. But it means these paper knife designs have loads of variety. The colours and motifs are different for each person, down to the lining on the blade.
Stainless steel keeps each paper knife light and easy to handle. Many of them come with ‘sword holster’ protective cases and display stands. Convenient storage, fits the theme, doesn’t take up much space.
From the paper knife list, Ryoma Sakamoto, Nobunaga Oda, Yukimura Sanada and a few others also inspired pairs of Nikken Cutlery’s samurai scissors.
In fact, these katana-shaped scissors came out before the paper knife versions. They won the Japanese Souvenir Grand Prix in 2016 – over 50,000 pairs were sold in the first 2 years.
We get why they’re popular. Check out the official ad video for them on YouTube:
Yep, that’s how you sell a pair of scissors.
As the company already makes ‘normal’ craft and kitchen scissors with curved blades, they’re all kinda sword-like to look at. A proper samurai theme was the natural next step, thought up during a ‘what type of scissors do we make next’ meeting.
That ‘sword hilt’ detail on the handles gives you a better grip. And the scabbard cover keeps you and the blades protected when you’re not using them.
You can also get standard Japanese sword scissors, totally black ninja scissors, and golden samurai scissors.
One Piece nail clippers and knives
Pirates don’t have long fingernails, do they? We can’t see them stealing gold coins and climbing the rigging with nail extensions… It wouldn’t make sense.
But then, that makes us think about how pirates keep their nails short at sea. Biting them off’s super ewwww.
What pirates need is handy nail clippers, and Nikken Cutlery’s way ahead of us on that one. Each One Piece clipper colour reps a different member of the Straw Hat Pirates:
- Red – Monkey D. Luffy
- Green – Roronoa Zoro
- Orange – Nami
- Blue – Sanji
- Pink – Tonytony Chopper
Nikken Cutlery makes One Piece-themed paper knives, too. It’s their first anime collab – based on this, we hope it’s their first of many. The knives are inspired by some of the main characters’ swords:
- Kikoku (Trafalgar Law)
- Shusui (Roronoa Zoro)
- Sandai Kitetsu (Roronoa Zoro)
- Wadoichimonji (…Roronoa Zoro)
That’s a lotta Zoro… but to be fair he does use 3 katanas, and Nikken’s recreated them all to look accurate and faithful enough to their original designs. Check out the blades.
We feel like there’s a market out there for the ‘otaku envelope opener’.
The mouse is as mighty as the sword
Remember, whether we can ship you a katana-style paper knife or a pair of scissors internationally depends on stuff like the blade length. Japan Post isn’t the world’s biggest fan of fake swords…
Ask us before ordering if you’re unsure, as well as checking our prohibited items list on the DEJAPAN website for more detail on what we can and can’t deliver.
We’ve used some pics from Nikken Cutlery’s Facebook page, and you can also follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Can’t wait to see what they invent next.