You have been saving up to buy your first authentic Japanese knife. You have done all of your research and know what you will buy. But while you are scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, you are shown advertisements for 50-90% off retail knives. These advertisements claim the blades are made with “traditional methods” and sharpened by Master knife makers in Japan. You click on the link and then are redirected to a landing page with details about the makers of the knives, where they come from, and why you should buy them directly from the maker. You are convinced that by cutting out the middleman, you are saving so much money.
As you do your research by scrolling down the landing page, you see photos of old Japanese men forging a red hot glowing piece of steel, which would become the blade of a knife. You read about how the knives are sharpened with a traditional Japanese method called “Honbazuke.” You also read that the knife makers are a father and son team, working together to offer the best Japanese kitchen knives possible. And, of course, you read that you are supporting a legacy because you are buying these from THEM.
You click BUY and make the purchase. Days later, you see a notification that knives are shipping from China. Could you have possibly bought a fake Japanese knife? Impossible. Maybe the company is using shipping out of Hong Kong, which is possible. After all, many companies use Hong Kong for fulfillment since it is the shipping hub of the world. BurrfectionStore ships out of Hong Kong, so why wouldn’t this team of father and son do so?
After waiting one or two weeks, you receive your knife set. You open them up and inspect them. They are all fine and cut well. However, you don’t see any Japanese Kanji on the knives, and nowhere does it say “Made in Japan.” So you take your suspicion online and research the knives you have just received, and to your dismay, you read on various review sites that these knives are not Japanese-made. You find out they are made in China, and worst of all, you find them on similar landing pages for even less than what you paid and sold under a different name.
Frustrated, you go back to the original packaging to contact the seller. There are no emails or phone numbers to call. You look at the confirmation email and find the email routed through a fulfillment center, which does not handle individual cases. You go back to the landing page where you bought the knife set but cannot find the original ad. You type in the name of the knives and see another website that shows them, but there is no BUY button, so you cannot prove you bought your knife there. You are stuck and angry and may have lost your money. You can call your credit card company and file a chargeback in most cases. But in many unfortunate cases, money was sent directly from a debit card.
Learn how to identify an authentic Japanese knife, and do not let scammers take your money. Know about the time and energy it takes to make a knife by hand in Japan. A quality Japanese knife goes through dozens of stages before it arrives at a customer’s home. It can take as long as two months before a blade is ready for use in some cases. Sadly, these scam knife companies prey on those who don’t know any better. With the advent of targeted advertising, sellers can show such ads to buyers looking for knives but do not have a history of quality knife purchases. In addition, they can target lower-income buyers who may not be savvy enough to file chargebacks with their credit card issuers. Don’t let this be YOU.