Mr. Mizuno is a blacksmith working in Sakai, Japan. He sells his knives under the Akitada brand name. The knives you find here are from their Hontanren series with blue #2 steel and clad with soft iron. Hontanren basically means hammer-forged, which is a method that many of our blacksmiths use in producing knives and has been the traditional way to make knives for hundreds of years. These days they don't hammer with a sledgehammer but instead use a machine called a spring hammer to quickly bang out knives from rods of steel. Mizuno-san also does his own cladding of steel in his shop and uses a traditional charcoal fire and straw ash in the forging process. It’s believed that doing blades in this manner increases the carbon content of the steel and makes for better blades with harder edges.