The Origin of Masamoto®

As the first generation Minosuke engraved the "正" ("Masa") character on his knives as proof that he had made them himself, the second generation knife craftsman Kichizo Hirano sought to register this character as the trading name when the trademark registration system began in 1884.

However, since a knife specialty store in Osaka was already using the name, it could not be used. After consulting with business partners, the suggestion was made that since the knives use genuine steel, why not place the "本" ("moto") character that forms part of the Japanese word "genuine" under the "正" ("masa") character? This advice was the origin of "Masamoto®."

Only Masamoto Sohonten has carried on the techniques and approaches to hardening, tempering and polishing created by the first-generation founder Minosuke.

As well as cutting well, boasting excellent durability and requiring little maintenance, the range of Masamoto® knives has expanded into various types based on feedback from the chefs using them even back in this time. Striving to create the perfect knife that meets the demands of users, Masamoto Sohonten works diligently on a daily basis, devoting itself to the task so that others cannot follow.

The Masamoto Lineage

First Generation
Minosuke Matsuzawa
1845 - 1891
Second Generation
Kichizo Hirano
1857 - 1916
Third Generation
Sakichi Hirano
1883 - 1954


Tsukiji Masamoto (Tsukiji Masamoto®) set up business independently in 1951.

*Its products and company organization differ completely.

MASAMOTO® is a registered trademark of Masamoto Sohonten based in Azumabashi

Fourth Generation
Masakichi Hirano
1903 - 1970
Fifth Generation
Morisuke Hirano
1929 -
Conferred The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette
Sixth Generation
Masahiro Hirano
1961 -

The Story of Masamoto Sohonten

  • History of Masamoto Sohonten
  • Global Events
  • History of Masamoto Sohonten
    Global Events
  • 150th
    150th Anniversary
    The 31st Olympic Games are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 1903
    The MASAMOTO trademark (No. 20269) is registered.The name has become recognized as a well-known and established trademark in Japan.
    The Eiffel Tower in Paris is completed.
  • 1890
    Opens for business at 26, Nakanogohara-Niwacho, Honjo-ku, Tokyo (present-day Azumabashi, Sumida-ku).
    By Order of the Daizenryo (imperial cooking and banquet facility) of the Imperial Household Ministry.
    American Thomas Edison invents the phonograph.
  • 1874
    First in the Kanto region to manufacture and sell genuine tempered blade cooking knives.
  • 1871
    The Second Reich (1871 - 1918) is established in Germany.
  • 1867
    Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel invents dynamite.
  • 1866
    Returns home and starts making cooking knives in Osawa.
  • 1863
    American President Lincoln makes Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery.
  • 1862
    Travels to Osaka to master the secrets of genuine knife forging.
  • 1840 - 1842
    Opium War fought between Qing dynasty and England.
  • 1845
    First-generation founder of Masamoto is born to a blacksmith in Osawa, Bushu (Saitama Prefecture).
Beginning of Masamoto