Translating an "aisatsu" sheet for a knife

A friend of mine is currently visiting Fukuoka. He just visited this guy’s blacksmith shop and purchased a new kitchen knife.

It came with this little sheet, and he asked if I’d take a stab at a rough translation:

I’m not a knife guy, but I am into metalworking, so I found the translation process pretty interesting, and I learned a few useful things in the process. Doubtless, I’ve made at least a few errors so any corrections or comments will be appreciated.

"Here's what I sent him (collapsed in case anyone wants to try on their own)

[This was a rough and quick translation. Errors are likely.]

*** Hakata Houchou ***

A Hakata Houchou (Hakata kitchen knife) is also called an Ippon Houchou [“one knife”]. One knife can be used for fish, vegetables and various cooking needs.

Regarding the steel bar (mild steel): following the detailed instructions of Yasugi (Shimane prefecture), it is heated and struck until it is close to the basic shape of a kitchen knife.

Ordinary Handling

  1. To avoid rust: after use, apply boiling water then wipe dry and store with a dry dish towel.

  2. Alternatively, applying cleanser with a daikon radish or carrot “heta” [?] or the like, and then washing with hot water seems to prevent the red rust from appearing.

  3. If the cutting performance worsens, sharpen on a waterstone.

Thank you for purchasing from us: hand-made “One Knife” knives made one by one. Please take good care of them for a long time.

I just noticed that I completely skipped the keigo up at the top. After some time with the dictionary, I think this reads 皆様方(みなさまがた)におかれましては、益々(ますます)清栄(せいえい)のこととお(よろこ)び申し上げます (which I think roughly means something like “We’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone the very best in the future”). Keigo gives me a headache, so I usually just try to get the gist and ignore most of it.

I’m completely mystified by 「へた」— is the daikon/carrot itself called a “heta” or does it have some other meaning I’m not understanding?

The shop name is 大庭(おおば)鍛治(かじ)工場(こうじょう) (Ooba Blacksmithing Factory) but I can’t seem to convince my IME to create the にすい(へん) version of 治.

I don’t do nearly enough reading practice, so this was the first time I’d come across the ◯◯(とう) pattern for “etc.”, “and similar”, or “and so on”. Very good to know.

Apparently, 博多 is pronounced はかた and not はくた as I expected. It’s a type of kitchen knife shaped like this:

Things I learned in the process

In no particular order.

The reading for 安来(やすぎ) really threw me for a loop until I googled it. I thought it was あんらい at first.

Translating the 一本(いっぽん)包丁(ほうちょう) stuff was oddly challenging.

Using a daikon or radish to apply cleanser powder was a new one to me! I know Japanese クレンザー is usually a pretty fine powder. I’m not sure if I’d be comfortable using Comet or Bon Ami on a quality Japanese kitchen knife.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or corrections, or if you’ve ever heard of this daikon/carrot trick for preventing rust on a kitchen knife!


The へた of a carrot or daikon is the top of it. Jisho suggests “calyx” as the translation, and googling “carrot calyx” certainly gets me some of the right sort of images, but I’m not really very well-versed in botanical terms. “大根のへた” produced this image, so perhaps Jisho isn’t quite on the mark:


I’m pretty sure you’ve seen this before, but most likely in kana - the reading is not とう but など.

It’s also the name of a former city that was subsumed by Fukuoka in 1878 (even though the population of Hakata at the time was 25% larger than the population of Fukuoka). 博多駅 is the terminus of the San’yo Shinkansen. Hakata is also the namesake for Hakata dolls, Hakata ramen, and Hakata-ori textiles.


Well dang! Yes, I’m very familiar with that when spoken.

I wouldn’t know a calyx if I stepped on one, though. TIL.

Didn’t know the history of Hakata, either.

Very helpful response. Thanks!


Evidently you need a pair of Vimes’ cardboard-soled shoes.


Hah! Now you’re talking my language. I need to reread some of the Ringworld stuff. The ones involving The Watch were always my favorite.

I think the ヘタ thing might mean to cut a flat part of the root vegetable near the top, then put the cleanser on the cut portion. You’d hang onto the top portion of the daikon in that image, and use the flat cut part on the bottom to apply the cleanser.

Apparently, “calyx” has something to do with flowering structures, so I suspect a heta means the part you discard from root vegetables that includes the above-ground, flowering portion.

I’ll have to ask my mother in law if she’s heard of this trick.

You can try かじば (and delete the ending 場). Or handwrite it (or copy paste it from here: 冶 )

For reasons I have no interest in figuring out, IOS on my phone is happy to write 鍛冶, but I was unable to get that version on Mac OS. :person_shrugging:

I believe this is correct in this case, however it might be good to note that など is not a 常用漢字 reading of 等. If you see it on any official documents, you can be assured that it is read as トウ.
If this random yahoo answer is trustworthy, the rule seems to be that 〇〇等 where the preceding reading is kunyomi will likely be read など, but if onyomi, it is likely to be トウ
When reading more formal stuff I run into this problem a lot, so it would be helpful if that rule was 100% correct, but it appears to be more of a guideline.


Perhaps not, but it is a reading of it. Dunno why it’s not considered a joyo reading, considering the word written in kana is extremely common.


Yeah, I think it is very common to find など written in kanji, but for whatever reason the Japanese government didn’t consider it 常用 (or the reading ら for that matter).
I always felt like the トウ reading isn’t used much in speaking, but during meetings in the staff room I often hear 資料等 and stuff like that.



Google translate on my phone shows the reading of 資料等 as しりょうとう but Apple and DeepL say しりょうなど. :man_shrugging:t2: (none are canonical, of course, and the browser widget in DeepL probably uses the Apple engine)

The on/kun thing makes sense to me. I’m going to ask my wife about this when she is free.

I’m just happy to have learned that など is even a reading for that character!

Also, heta is definitely kunyomi in the aisatsu page, so nado is probably correct in this case regardless. Happy to learn of this nuance! I’m sure even natives get it wrong occasionally if on/kun is the rule (explaining why it’s not 100%).


Wife responded with an unhelpful shrug. Says など is sometimes less confusing but she’s not sure if it’s strictly an onyomi/kunyomi thing.

Of course, she’s not canonical either, but don’t tell her I said that.


Yeah looking a bit more online it seems like the onyomi and kunyomi thing is not talked about much so it might have been that person’s personal theory of the tendency to use one over the other.

I did find this “official” definition, but as we know these guidelines are frequently not followed:

公用文で「等」(読み:トウ)が硬い感じを与えると思われるとき や**「など」と読むときは「など」を書くことになります** 。

This does confirm at least that while the トウ reading can be spoken, it does feel more formal so that does give a bit of a hint as to which is being used at a given point.


Maybe it’s time to get her canonised.


What dictionary did you find that in? I’ve got to find better monolingual resources.

The とう reading having a harder, more official tone explains why I’ve not heard it before (or at least not realized I’d heard it!). My conversations in Japan tend to be with friends and family.

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I put official in quotations because it wasn’t really a dictionary, but a website that quoted a lawyer’s column about the official usage of 等 and など. Perhaps definition was also a bit of a stretch, as it’s more of a clarification of usage.
The website can be found here, and the lawyer’s column here.