I have wanted this knife ever since I first set my eyes on it at Manufactum a couple of years ago.
As such I was very happy when it was gifted to me a little while ago, or actually, I had to "buy" it off the person giving it to me, since traditionally a given knife might "cut" the relationship between the giver and the recipient. A symbolic payment is made to prevent this.
I believe I paid ten cents...
Up until the 60's, when under US occupation knife carrying was restricted, it was very common for Japanese boys and young men to always carry one of these Higonokami around, simply as pocket knife.
Apparently it was specifically used often for whittling and to sharpen pencils.
The way it is produced as well as the knife itself have remained largely the same since the 1890's when it was first created.
Not unlike the Opinel of France, it is a very simple and also very cheap knife, but that doesn't mean that it isn't of high quality and masterfully made.
The old master seen in this video (which also gives us a glimpse at exactly how handmade these knives actually are) is apparently one of the few remaining people who is certified to call his knives Higo No Kami.
Judging by the makers mark the knife I have does not come from his workshop though.
Construction wise it is a very simple knife, consisting of a folded sheet of brass, the blade itself and a rivet to keep the two together.
(I added the leather loop myself, and I'm undecided on whether I should keep it on or not)
The joint becomes fairly loose after some use and the blade tends to slip out every once in a while, and with a blade this sharp it's certainly not an item to simply throw in your pocket and forget about.
A common solution to this was for people to take a small hammer or pliers to the brass handle, this to adjust the handle to make it a tighter fit so that the blade itself stayed fixed in between the brass when closed.
Something I might consider doing once the joint becomes too loose on mine.
In my experience blades that come "factory sharpened" normally aren't super sharp, but this one was extremely sharp straight away, and as if the knife wanted to make extra sure I respected it's sharpness I immediately cut myself with it, heh...
The stamped samurai on the one side is a depiction of the famous Japanese swordsmaster Miyamoto Musashi, and from what I could find out about it, the inscriptions on the other side traditionally says something about him, along with the obligatory "registered trademark."