Seki is the center of the cutlery industry in Japan. Located in the northern Mino region, today it has over 600 companies involved in the production of knives, representing about 40% of the companies in the city. Its history can be traced back to the 13th century, when feudal rule was being established in Japan. According to legend, a master sword-maker by the name of Motoshige discovered in the region ideal conditions for tempering steel: high-quality ore and pine charcoal as well as an abundance of pure water. Over the centuries since then the master sword-makers of Seki have vied with one another for the honor of producing swords so perfect that they would bear comparison with works of art. Subsequently, as the age of feudal warlords came to an end, they made themselves over into blacksmiths to produce blades suitable for domestic and agricultural use.
In the second half of the 19th century western knives and scissors were introduced to Japan and the people of Seki embarked upon the development of new types of products for new markets. It was precisely at this time that the factory which would later become KAI was founded.