Hinoura Tsukasa is one of the most well known knife and nata (Japanese style machete) maker in Japan. He makes standard line natas under the name of Ajigataya, and he make his more high quality knives with his own "Tsukasa-saku (made by Tsukasa)" brand. These knives are blood and sweat of Tsukasa-san, since he makes these knives basically after his work making natas for Ajigataya. For instance this knife takes about two years to complete! I have ordered two couple months ago, so there is another one year and 10months more to go.... But as you can see, the quality is just absolutely wonderful. This model was made to enter the knife show that took place in Tokyo couple years back. Very special model which takes much more effort on making. He puts everything he's got into this brand.
The steel is White Steel #2 considering the nature of this knife. Tsukasa-san sharpens these natas to a very keen edge, so I recommend making a second bevel or rounding the edge before use to make the edge last longer. The sheath is a specially made of rosewood, hollowed from single material using a lathe thus has no joining invoved. The polishing is done by using Japanese natural stones. Tsukasa is from Sanjyo and he and his son are both member of Sanjyo kaji-doujyo (Sanjyo blacksmithing doujo = doujo is a place where you train Japanese martial art including various sword fighting skills such as kendo.)
"Unryu" Nejiri Kitaeji Migaki Soe-nata ("Dragon in the Cloud" Twisted Layered-jigane Polish-finished Small Nata)
Nata is a J style machete. More like a hunting knife. These are intended to be used in the mountains, to skin animals, to fillet river fish, etc. This is basically "not for sale" model from Hinoura-san.
I've known this knife for a long time, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I asked a couple of shops before I started this pawn shop, if they can take order for this knife, but they all told me Hinoura-san won't make this one, because it's a special show model.
But my friend in Sanjyo has a good relationship with Hinoura-san, so I asked him if he can ask Hinoura-san whether it is possible for him to make this knife for me. And Hinoura-san's answer was, if I can wait for one year he can make it. The reason he didn't want to make this knife was partly because it is a non commercial show model, but mostly because it takes too much time and effort, that it'll delay the delivery of other customers' orders.
Anyway, after a year and a bit more, I asked how it is going, and he told me it is almost ready. And after a year and a half, the same thing, so I basically gave up. And finally it came in a couple days ago, after two full years! This is the longest waiting time I've ever experienced to receive a tool.
What is so special about this knife is, first of all, and most importantly, the shaping and the polishing (hand finished with J natural stone). The spine is curved back slightly. There is no bevel line (shinogi sen). As you probably know, this is the style seen with highly decorative tantos. It takes more effort to shape (connect the lines) and polish, because there is no flat surface. Every curvature needs to be fluid and "logical". I know how tough this is to achieve since I polished the tanto shown in my website. It was seriously time consuming (was even frustrating to a certain extent, since I had to stop and think every once in a while, which made the process not too automatic = "mushin") ....
The kitaeji (the layered jigane) is twisted which shows a complex sword like wavy patterns, not being just layered.
It has engraved mei (Echigo Tsukasa-saku: Made by Tsukasa from Niigata) as opposed to the stamp seen in #2 model in the other Tsukasa page, hand forged polished hilt, and brass rivet. Chemically treated rosewood handle, and "one piece (* )" rosewood sheath. So as you can see it's treated as the ultimate collector's item. One will even be in a signed kiri box. The box is on its way, so I'll show the photo when it arrives.
*The sheath is carved out of one piece wood, treated with the same chemical for waterproofing. It is not laminated! This is to prevent delamination or cracking when it gets wet.