Pride unchanged since foundation, products changing towards the future

Suwada Blacksmith Works is located in the city of Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture, a place long known as one of the world’s leading production centres for high-end cutlery. The company’s history dates back to 1926, when its founder, Shukusaburo Kobayashi, began manufacturing kuikiri, or end-cut pliers, for carpenters in response to surging demand for new housing in the wake of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

Ever since then, Suwada has specialised in particular in nipper-cutters that sever an object between a pair of perfectly joined blades, all the while insisting on a meticulous approach to consistency in manufacturing, from carefully selecting raw materials to applying the final touches by hand to finish every product. Although more than a few other enterprises in our industry have fallen by the wayside over the decades, we have not only successfully maintained traditional techniques but also continued to innovate here in the city of Sanjo, where quality materials and skilled craftspeople are in plentiful supply.

1926 Started production of kuikiri, or end-cut pliers, in Ichinokido, Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture.
1950 Developed gourd-shaped nail nipper.
1956 Moved to Suwada, Sanjo and started production of edged tools for pruning plants and bonsai.
1973 Moved to a newly built factory in Koanji, Sakae, Minami-kanbara, Niigata Prefecture.
1974 Incorporated as Suwada Blacksmith Works Inc., with Shukusaburo Kobayashi’s son Kiichi assuming the post of president.
1989 Built a second factory in Kanekoshinden, Sanjo and moved the head office there.
Developed Kurikuri Bozu chestnut peeler.
1993 Built a new office building and a main factory behind the existing factory in Koanji and moved head office into the new office building.
1994 Built a new second factory adjacent to the main factory in Koanji.
1995 Kurikuri Bozu II chestnut peeler won a Good Design Award from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI, now the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, or METI).
1996 Suwada Nail Nipper won a Good Design Award from MITI.
1997 Kiichi’s son Tomoyuki Kobayashi became representative director.
Mirror-finish Hanaeda-basami garden shears won a Good Design Award from MITI.
1998 Suwada Nail Nipper Lady won a Good Design Award from the Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP).
2002 Suwada Nail Nipper Soft and Nail Pusher Duo both won Good Design Awards from the JDP.
2005 Built and opened a new showroom in front of the main factory in Koanji.
Address changed from Koanji, Sakae, Minami-kanbara to Koanji, Sanjo due to a merger of municipalities.
2007 All-new nail nipper received Jury’s Special Mention at IDS Design Competition.
Opened a showroom and retail shop in London on a one-year contract.
Company won a Design Excellent Company Award from the JDP.
Company named one of 300 Active Small/Medium Manufacturers by METI’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Agency.
New nail nipper received an Honourable Mention from the Director-General of the SME Agency at the Good Design Awards.
2009 Cuticle Nipper won a Good Design Award from the JDP.
2010 Suwada Nail Nipper won a Design for Asia Award.
2011 Damascus Cufflinks given a Jury’s Award at the IDS Design Competition.
Local subsidiaries established in London and Hong Kong.
Main factory fully redesigned to become Suwada Open Factory.
Cuticle Nipper Toki won a Bronze Award at the Design for Asia Awards.
2012 Company won a Special Award of the Minister of Health, Labour, and Welfare in a competition to promote the employment of senior citizens.
2013 Suwada Nail Nipper’s New Soft model won a Good Design Award from the JDP.
2014 Suwada Bookmarker won an IDS Award at the IDS Design Competition.