Kataoka Hamano is a professional kitchen knife maker based in Tsubame, Niigata, Japan. Tsubame is a centre famous for steel products, a lot of high-end stainless cookware is from there. While the city of “Tsubame” may not sound familiar, it is actually adjacent to another famous (handmade) knife centre: Sanjo, in fact they share the same bullet train station, which is conveniently named as “Tsubame-Sanjo Station”
You are probably quite familiar with Seki, a major kitchen knife making city with a lot of mass-product knife brands like Shun, Yaxell, Misono, Masahiro (even Henckels Zwilling has a factory there). Tsubame is quite similar to Seki in this regard as it has a few mass-produced knife makers, notably Global (具良治).
Kataoka Hamono use to do a lot of OEM jobs for other top tier brands in Japan, including the likes of Sakai Takayuki and Sakai Jikko. In recent years they have shifted their focus to build their own brands. Their industry focused brand Berito is very popular among Japanese chefs. For the consumer market, they market under the brand “Tamahagane”, with the meaning of great sharpness and pure performance. I really like the Tamahagane knives because some of their features and designs are just quite unique compared to a lot of the consumer grade knives that are already out there (and look identical)