Amazingly, a fancy pair of bonsai scissors can cost an eyewatering $26,000. How? It turns out that the secret to making the best bonsai scissors in the world lies in an ancient method of sword-making. Hirakawa Yasuhiro is one of the few blacksmiths in Japan who still uses traditional methods dating back to the fifth century to forge these scissors. His family workshop, Sasuke, has been making bonsai scissors for over 155 years, but Yasuhiro worries that the craft may end with him. Yasuhiro’s family business is one of the last in Sakai, Japan, that specializes in bonsai scissors in addition to knives.
He uses Japanese Yasugi steel to make the blades, which is more durable and helps them stay sharp. Each pair of scissors takes him up to a month to make, but they can last a lifetime. Bonsai specialists are willing to wait a year to get their hands on a pair of Yasuhiro’s scissors, as precision and cleanliness are essential for bonsai care. Today, Yasuhiro is worried that the ancient craft of blacksmithing may not survive, as his sons are unsure if they will follow in his footsteps.
Top image: Bonsai scissors. Source: ANUCHA / Adobe Stock.