Japanese hair shears have earned a reputation for being the best in the world.
It starts with high-quality Japanese steel. To build the world’s best hair shears, the steel must be precisely formulated to enable it to take and hold an incredibly sharp edge for a long time—so you don’t have to sharpen often. (Learn more about KASHO’s steels here.)
But it’s not enough just to use Japanese materials. There are shear companies that use—or say they use—Japanese steel yet the shears don’t provide the kind of quality you need.
That’s because another vital part of the answer is manufacturing quality. For genuine Japanese shears manufacturers like KASHO, this means a dedication to engineering precision and meticulous attention to detail—from design to quality control. And finally, it takes experience.
Japan’s blade-making tradition goes back hundreds of years—and yes, we’re talking about the famous samurai swords. This tradition of handcrafted excellence is an inspiration to today’s artisans at Kai, the makers of KASHO shears. They are heirs to this ancient tradition and take personal pride in upholding it with every shear they make. (Learn more about KASHO and the 100-year+ history of Kai, the makers of KASHO, here.)
What it Takes to Make Your KASHO Shears
To see what goes into making the shears that you use every day, here’s a brief introduction to the KASHO manufacturing process—a process that takes more than 100 individual steps to complete for each pair of KASHO shears.
Forging & Shaping
First, the blades and handles are forged using precision-machined dies, intense heat (over 1000°!) and immense pressure. The blades and finger rings are given their initial shape by grinding. Then, a complex and precise drill press makes the pivot holes that will become part of the all-important tension system of your shear.
Heat Treatment & Sharpening
Next, the forged and shaped components undergo a process known as heat treatment. It subjects the premium steel alloys to high temperatures, then slowly cools them under controlled conditions. This process causes a change in the steel’s internal structure, making it harder—so we can make the edges even sharper. Hardened steel will hold the edge longer, so you can sharpen less.
As part of the heat treatment process, the shear components next undergo tempering to give them the toughness they need to survive life in the salon.
Grinding, Shaping & Polishing
Now the shears move into another critical phase of their production. This is where our highly trained artisans take over. After heat treatment, each piece is checked to ensure there are no issues; any fine-tuning adjustments are made by hand.
Next, our sharpening artists take the lead, shaping and sharpening each individual blade. They shape the exterior of the blade, the concave center, and the all-important razor edge. The concave blade shape ensures that when you cut, the place where the two blades meet is no wider than the width of a hair. This means that, with each cut, there’s no pulling or pushing of the hair. Each cut is as smooth as silk.
To ensure the hand-sharpened quality, we use a flat, circular grinding wheel known as a hiramae, as well as a classic whetstone. Processes such as checking the blade edge and sharpness are done by human beings. Keeping these vital, core processes in human hands adds value to KASHO shears, ensuring you of long-lasting sharpness and ease of use.
Finally, the shear components are manually polished to a beautiful mirror or matte-satin finish.
Now the precision blades are joined together by one of KASHO’s famous tensioning systems. Whether it’s our patented Disc Operation System that never needs adjusting or oiling, our classic T-screw, integrated ball-bearing system, or ratchet-screw system, this component of your KASHO shears is as important as the razor-sharp blades.
The KASHO logo and manufacturing information are marked on each shear using a high-intensity laser.
Inspection & Packaging
In addition to inspection throughout the manufacturing process, all KASHO shears are subjected to final inspection and testing for sharpness and cutting action. The shears are tested by cutting pieces of wet cloth—a much more difficult task than cutting hair. Each one is tested by hand because we believe that only human beings can judge whether the final product cuts well or not.
Only the shears that pass this rigorous inspection are packed with proper care and shipped to our authorized dealers, ready to help create your art and build your business.
The Result? The Ultimate Edge for Professionals
This meticulous manufacturing expertise—and tradition of excellence—results in hair cutting shears and tools that provide you with professional results, a lifetime of performance, and that inspire your creativity every day.