Tahara's own factory, also small and cluttered, doesn't have any modern machinery. "He uses an ox bone grinder for part of the shaping process," Magers says, "and he powers it with an intricate system of belt-driven motors." Next, a short drive away is Koichi Morimoto, who, in his early 70s, is one of the eldest knife shokunin. Barefoot, he uses a wet stone for the final phase of sharpening before the blade is sent to Susumu Wakai, the finisher. "Wakai sits like a Buddha all day long and attaches handles to blades," Magers says. The final step is to engrave the blade.