MCUSTA’s Take on Higonokami Hits the Market

MCUSTA has released its latest knife, the friction folder MC-019. This blade sees the Seki City-based MCUSTA reinventing Japan’s most iconic pocket knife, the Higonokami.

The original Higonokami knife is to Japan what the Opinel is to France. Although it’s a common pocket tool with a rich history, true Higonokamis are getting harder and harder to find. “The Higonokami is very popular,” MCUSTA’s Tomohiro Hasegawa confirms. “Sadly the number of craftsmen is going down.” So MCUSTA took the idea of the Higonokami as a portable, efficient friction folder and modernized it in nearly every way. “We wanted to make something different and original – a kind of MCUSTA version of the Higo.”

So the MCUSTA team implemented 3.25-inch san mai blade with a VG-10 core, deployed by a large extension from the back of the tang, just like the original Higo. The handles feature an open back construction and come with scales in both colored Staminawood composite or G-10. “We use advanced machining to make this handle at first,” Hasegawa explains. “After that we polish it.” MCUSTA’s reputation for combining high-end machining prowess and old-school finishing assembly methods creates a unique end product. “Of course we were inspired by the Higo. But we didn’t want to copy it as it is. [The MC-019] is more modernized and precise,” says Hasegawa. But the clipless MC-019 nods to the traditional with a Nishijin textile pouch for carry.


The MC-019 is MCUSTA’s major release for at least the first half of 2018, and the company plans to explore some variations in the future. “We will add more options,” Hasegawa confirms. “For example with the blade in SPG2 [a high-performance alloy from Takefu] or Damascus. Or the handle scale is maybe a different material. But we don’t know when.”

MCUSTA also employs a special division that produces limited run knives in premium trim. These yearly limited runs are often restricted to 50-100 pieces per model, and feature engravings, inlays, and truly exotic materials. Some years ago an MCUSTA limited edition incorporated waterproofed Washi paper as a one-of-a-kind inset. Hasegawa confirmed a new round of limited editions inbound for 2018, with their own unique characteristics. “We will make the limited editions again this year.”

Knife featured in image: MCUSTA MC-019

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