The Higonokami Japanese Traditional Pocketknife: The Full Nick Shabazz Review

The Higo No Kami is an interesting knife, and a piece of Japanese culture, and it’s available for only $15 shipped, fitting the thrifty Thursday Theme. The problem is that even for $15, you’re not getting much for your money, and it’s got design and construction issues which cause big problems for EDC.

If you’re in it for the culture or some other interest, then go to town. But if you want a good, functional cutting tool, the Higo is a no-go.


Kwafo Acquaah Arhin says:

Hi Nick,

Your Higo No Kami does not have enough friction, so that is why it can open in your pocket. The one you have is not build well. Mine is sharp all the way and does not open accidentally And the edges of my Higo No Kami are not rough. That said, It is true that the blade can damage if you fold it because of the design.

Kamuela boy says:

6:33 its hand made a hole

Jean-Pierre Bergeron says:

I love ALL your reviews Nick. You are really the best

Peter R says:

Pretty solid knife for the price..gets rusty quick though

Stoney Lonsome says:

Hmm- these generally have more friction- which makes them stay closed better- that said, they were traditionally carried in a sheath I think- I wouldn’t carry one in my pocket freely even if it was pretty stiff. I made a little leather pocket slip for mine. I got into Japanese carpentry for a while and the guy I was learning from used one of these as a marking knife- so I got one for the same purpose- works very well as a carpenter’s knife. Of course it doesn’t begin to compare with a more modern folder for edc but- it didn’t have to in it’s day- back then it was a modern folder.

Darth Kane says:

This guy sounds like review bro

ogostaboy says:

You have to free your mind and be touched by the steel gods to apreciate the Higo! It is for the selected few,the enlightened- for less is more and vanity is a sin.For the half blind man can only feel the strong sunlight, but can not see the beauty of the dawn.
No but seriously…the blade is awesome and insane whittler.I have three.

An Opinionated Gamer says:

My butter knife doesn’t have a detent….

colin devine says:


Mask3d says:

i bet this negative review triggered a few weeaboos

Shane Abikhair says:

Looks like a genuine piece of crap

Nolan Webster says:

get a douk douk or a mercator.

Piper Amadeus says:

The Higonokami you got seems to be a defect or most likely a fake.
A real Higonokami has alot of friction to it so the blade won’t open by itself in your pocket as you need to push the tang to make it open. Also the lettering is mostly manufactur name and so on.
Also you are missing the samurai on the otherside where you have nothing on the handle.
Wich is also a hint towards fake. Other then this i like the video.

Cold Rain says:

I don’t believe it. A Japanese made knife that is worse than the Z-Hunter:( Masamune weeps

Unconfirmed User says:

That is a 肥後守定駒 (and I have no idea what it means), the steel they’re using on this knife is probably 青紙 steel. It sounds like same steel they are using on a Japanese sword. that’s pretty cool.

Brad Hutchison says:

Great review Nick! I don’t know if you like traditional folders at all, but one of the best investments I have made this year was buying a pocket slip from KnivesShipFree. it helps enormously with clueless knives and would have nicely solved your pocket opening issue.

Juuso Autero says:

This is a traditional Japanese carpenters knife, it is a tool for a specific job, making markings on wood.

It is not designed for E.D.C. tacti-cool/urban survival thing in mind.

You dont put it in your pocket, you dont stab with it, you dont cut with it, if you do, you are using it wrong…you are a big dissapointment.

Jacob C says:

The knife opens? Mine stays closed very well, although it’s not as quick to flick open when I need it to be. Just tighten the pin by hitting it a bit.

nick sweeney says:

Oh, Nick! You’re SO right!
Gaaaarr-baaaage… I’ve used better & safer knives built into my girlfriend’s all-in-one Travel Nail Trimmer and Wine Opener!
I used to sell timeshare (I’m not proud of it.) and I’d win trips to different countries. I’d always bring back some crap to console the stay-behinds.
Jade from Hong Kong, shells from Aruba, whatever and etc. From my Japan trip, I brought back 72 Higo’s for all hands.
I think that says enough.

ATadBitNefarious says:

your accent is fucking awesome

weeb scum says:

if it doesn’t still have mill scale it’s not a good higo

THE GUY says:

this guy must be italion

van hill says: just saved me 15.00

TheMawsJawz TM says:

I think I might still cop one. It’s kind of interesting.
This knife deserves a spyderco makeover

David Munson says:

I live in Japan and basic knives like this are available for about $5. The downside is that I basically can’t carry anything this big daily in Tokyo, but it’s still useful around the house or when I go out into the woods.

KamakazeTaco says:

When Nick says the Z hunter has more going for it, you know it’s a bad knife.

Lionel Job says:

I bought a similar knife at a knife shop in Tokyo to take the place of my little opinel during a trip through Japan. Mine came extremely sharp and doesn’t show the defects you describe very well. Could it be that they are best bought from a real shop? Or could it be that there is one decent manufacturer and imitators who build these cheap knives in China or elsewhere? In any case, my little knife, although not as useful to me as my equally small opinel with virole , is a good knife for the $10 or so that I paid for it. An honest product and a keeper. It’s the knife I keep in my car to peel apples and the such.

Joe Palone says:

Some very interesting comments on this one Nick!! Holy shit!!
I give you props for finding a knife with worse build quality than the fantastical Z Hunter!!

Fred Strauss says:

Nice review Nick but this can’t really be compared with modern knives. It has a hand forged blade, and is still produced by the original company that came out with it in the 1890s. It was also a standard tool of Japanese school children. I assume it was generally carried in a pencil box and was used for cutting food, paper and sharpening pencils. I would never carry it in my pocket. Mine has a very tight fit but I think it is a pretty dangerous knife to use. I bought it for its historical value as an interesting addition to my collection.

Beast of the Far East says:

Asian here, Higonokami was never meant for conceal carry or EDC.
It’s just a popular cheap little pocket knife ancient Japanese people use for cutting woods and strings, sharpening pencils and even shaving, some old Japanese schools even give each of their students a higonokami knife as a pencil sharpener. (No, there was never a school killing spree with Higonokami knife)
The Aogami (青紙) steel is very hard and very easy to sharpen, though it is a bit weak when it comes to corrosion resistance. Excellent steel for kitchen knifes and razor.

Keep in mind that Higonokami is very very old, like feudal Japan old, like freaking Samurai Ninjas old. Some even said that it was the ancestor of modern pocket knifes and straight razors.

In my opinion the Higonokami is a must have collection for knife lovers, it is a genuine ”historical folding knife”.

Not trying to defend it’s issue though (Let’s be honest I would never carry this thing with me.), but it was a really nice collector piece, and the Aogami steel is just lovely to work with. Not to mention the whole thing is very very traditional.
You can even get the hand forged one (it’s pretty rare, even in Japan.) for less than $100.
For such a rare collector item it is a freaking steal.

Sal Domino says:

what a great review !

Dave Allen says:

thats jap-scrap but i still want one

WhoCaresFool says:

elég lötyögős a tiéd TESSSAA… ezzel pont átbasztak…

Rainer Wever says:

my friend I buogjt a higonoki san mai dasmascus 3 inch blade for $200.00 at knifecenter and for me it is the most beatifully knife that I have in my colletion doesn’t matter if is practical or not. eveyday I take it out of the safe play with it look at it for minutes and then put it bsck in the safe.

Just Mike says:

International shipping for something that looks like it was made in some random guy’s garage.

dfcvda says:

got mine today as a gift, its very nice

Jack Morris says:

When Steve Buscemi reviews an old Japanese knife. AKA your old college roommate who slept naked in the dorm reviews a knife. AKA Your old college roommate who sounded like this guy, like Buscemi, reviews a knife.

Buzzsaw says:

I really like this Higonokami knife because it’s so simple in design, but I had it in my jean pocket when I jumped over a chain-link fence and realized immediately that the knife had opened and sliced my right testicle clean off. The blade indeed was quite sharp.



Patrick Petrie says:

There not made to be like a tool or a weapon.. there for kids to sharpen pencils.. or cutting apples.. there for kids. As like a kids tool that the little boys carry.

Caleb Brayton says:

I used to carry it after i did a bit of meddling because reviews said itd open up in your pocket because it’s short enough for my school but still long enough to use. I got mine from Amazon abd mine was sharp as fuck when it came out of the box…. I kinda made the pin go down and used wd40 to loosen it and i used a bench vice to stop the blade rattle and fix the bow. Then i also sanded it down. Again pushing the pin in more helps the blade wiggle. The knife is homemade so yours is very different than mine. I fixed everything you mentioned. Don’t need s stop pin because you manually stop the blade. I don’t carry it only because it’s more convenient to have a longer knife for what i need

vg1735 says:

This type of knife was mainly used to sharpen a pencils before the pencil sharpener become affordable.
This design had some advantages.
1) cheap.
2) compact. its helps when carrying it in a pencil case.
Yes, It is not a good knife in nowadays standard, but charming 😉
If You want use it as a pocket knife, need proper case and maybe some modifying.

Nikita says:

So many weeb japanophile fanboy idiots in the comments. Some say it’s an ancient knife, some said it is used to make wood carvings. You guys are all wrong. This is early 20th century knife and it was designed to be the CHEAP CRAP that it is, for freaking peasants to afford.

yea it’s retarded to carry one of these

Will Patterson says:

Tbh yours looks fake.

plutoandlucy says:

Sorry but this review is unfair.

First of all the nickel version of the higonokami is the “economy” model, the forging and craftmanship all around is not supposed to be the same quality as the standard brass version. Also the blade is sk steel, whereas the brass hadle models use blue steel or white steel.

Secondly, the blade is not supposed to be this loose even on an economy model (it is not a “feature” of the higo knife). You can easily fix that with one hammer tap on the rivet.

Dan Schwemin Jr says:

Great review Nick! You touched on every single reason why I dislike this knife! I picked up one of these nights after seeing all of the hype online, but once I finally got one in my hand I came to the same realization is that you did. I really just don’t understand everyone’s love for this knife. It’s honestly a piece of crap with some interesting history tied to it but nonetheless, a piece of crap.

Mark Tudor says:

For a “knife guy” who does his homework before approaching a subject (which I enjoy very much in most of your reviews) this take fits more in the comic entertainment genre than serious knife reviews. I own 3 Higo-No-Kami XLs and none of them came near the shape this one is in. On the other hand you got ripped off. For the same price you can get a clad blade (sanmai blue 2), not just mono steel. Bit of info: In the Japanese classical tradition the knifes are never sharpened completely by the maker so the user can sharpen the edge to his preference. Cheers and good fortunes to you!

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