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Knife as gift? 2008/10/2 04:52
Bit of a strange question.
I am travelling to Japan, and am buying a gift for someone who has helped me a lot in the past. He collects and loves quality custom knives (legal size etc) and I have purchased him a lovely small knife from a custom maker in my country.
However I have an idea that giving knives as gifts is not done, as it symbolises cutting the friendship.
Is this true?
In other countries, when giving someone a knife as a gift, they usually give you a small amount such as a 50 yen coin or something in exchange, as that means they have purchased the knife and it is not bad luck. Is this possible in Japan, and can i do this without any offence?

by Nihonto  

no problem 2008/10/2 13:09
The superstition does exist and it's a no no to send scissors or knives as wedding gifts. However, very often people send things like quality Solingen cutlery as souveniors or shavers on Father's Day with no problem.

I'm sorry, but I didn't understand the latter part about the coin.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Knife gift or sale? 2008/10/2 16:13
Hi Uco,
Thanks. What I meant was this;
I decide to give you a knife as a gift, but it is bad luck. So you then give me a tiny amount (like 5 yen) and then basically I didn't give you a gift of a knife (bad luck) but I sold you a knife (not bad luck) for a cheap price.

A lot of countries have that custom, but i am not sure if anyone knows of it in Japan.
by Nihonto rate this post as useful

... 2008/10/2 20:00
Since your friend is a collector, it would be no problem to give him something he likes (and you know he likes). And I think in Japan the thing about "cutting off the relationship" is more associated with, as Uco-san above wrote, wedding gifts rather than gifts in general.

I don't know how it is in your country, but if it makes you feel more comfortable, you can explain that a similar saying is associated with giving a knife in your country too, and there is this customary way to avoid bad luck... if you ask if he could "symbolically" buy the knife from you for 50 yen or something for YOUR peace of mind, he would understand. That could lead to some interesting talk about customs surrounding knives :)

To Uco-san, in some countries the recipient of the knife given as a gift gives a penny or a quarter back to "imitate" a purchase (just a symbolic payment) to avoid getting the friendship cut off :)
by AK rate this post as useful

To AK 2008/10/2 20:12
Interesting. Thank you.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Got the penny, too 2008/10/4 02:42
When I received a set of knives as a wedding present, the giver even taped a penny to the box.

I just gave the penny back as "payment" for the knives.
by kyarinchan rate this post as useful

another similar question 2009/3/12 03:11
I'm not sure where I read this, but they said that it wouldn't be a good idea to give a knife as a gift in Japan, as it could be connected to the act of giving a samurai a knife/sword in order to imply that he should commit seppuku.

Has anyone of you heard anything similar or is this just wrong information?
by kajiya (guest) rate this post as useful

thailand 2009/3/28 08:00
In Thailand, giving a knife as a gift means you want to hurt the recipient or something like that. I must have read this somewhere and also my aunt won't let me buy a sword when I was there saying something similar.
by udo4 rate this post as useful

HA! 2009/3/28 10:45
PREVIOUS POST: it could be connected to the act of giving a samurai a knife/sword in order to imply that he should commit seppuku.

HAHAHAHAHAH!!! does anyone else find that funny? so its like saying,"I hate you,go kill yourself" haha!!! lmao
by Kwaii Tenshi rate this post as useful

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