Samurai - Sword - Shaped Scissors Prove Popular With Foreign Tourists

Samurai-sword-shaped scissors prove popular with foreign tourists

Samurai-sword-shaped scissors developed by a manufacturer in Gifu Prefecture in central Japan are proving popular with foreign tourists as well as schoolchildren shopping for souvenirs.

The "Japanese sword scissors" by Nikken Cutlery Co. in Seki, Gifu, mimic decorative features found in the swords used by such feudal-era figures as Oda Nobunaga, a 16th-century warlord, and Sakamoto Ryoma, who tried to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate in the 19th century.


The idea for the product came during an after-hours chat Yuji Kumada, a 33-year-old senior official of Nikken Cutlery, had with two of his young colleagues at a coffee shop in 2014.

They were trying to come up with a new, original product line besides the company's existing, mainstay cutlery products, such as office-use scissors and paper knives.

"Wouldn't it be cool if a scissors' blades had a blade pattern like a Japanese sword?" one of them suggested.

The idea fitted well with the company's product design because its scissors already had curvy blades to increase their sharpness, which made them look like miniature swords.

Ultimately it resulted in a product having a decorative handle that mimics a sword handle, a blade that looks like a sword blade and a case that mimics a sword scabbard.

To date, 15 models have been sold. Each model is just under 20 centimeters long and sells for 2,000-3,000 yen ($18-27). A premium model with a lacquer-coated handle goes for over 10,000 yen.

Since the product was launched around 2015, Nikken Cutlery has received an avalanche of orders from souvenir shops in Tokyo's Asakusa and Akihabara districts, Kyoto and other locations on the back of an increasing number of foreign travelers to Japan.

Teens out to shop for souvenirs during school excursions are also picking them up, according to the company.

About 52,000 pairs have sold since they were rolled out two years ago. Sales have increased 10 percent since their release.

In February, Nikken Cutlery took to the internet and sought crowdfunding for developing a paper knife modeled after a sword used by Hijikata Toshizo, a 19th-century swordsman. The company managed to hit its 1 million yen target in just one day, a feat that generated a buzz among "netizens."

"I would be happy if young people took an interest in us through cool stuff or fun undertakings," Kumada said.