Tanifuji (Fukutarō)

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Tanifuji (Fukutarō)
(Published, Aug. 27, 2016Updated: 2018, Sept,
2019, May)

First of all, a BIG thank you for the contributions of:
  • Straightrazorp(a)lace/SRP (in alphabetically order): Steve56, mainaman, and many others …

TANIFUJI (Fukutarō)


Tanifuji Fukutarō
谷藤 福太郎
(°1894 April 1 – 1990) 

Tanifuji Silver steel 1 Tanifuji Silver steel 2

In the first decades of the 20th century, “Tanifuji Fukutaro”, °1894,
was the first to start manufacturing western style Japanese straight razors
using Japanese traditional techniques & skills to manufacture his razors.
He worked at a razor manufacturing factory in Tōkyō, Sumida-ku (1)

Already as a child he was helping in the family store of pocket knifes (1)

His father “Tatsugorou” worked in the business at Kanda Kiji-chō
(now called Kanda, Awaji-chō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō(1)

He soon moved and worked at a razor manufacturing factory in Suzaki-chō
(now 向島5丁目, or Mukōjima 5丁目(5-chome), Tōkyō, Sumida-ku, Japan),
where, in 1918, he succeeded in the production of an excellent domestic Western razor which sharpness was more excellent than a Western imported razor. The beauty of the shape of the razor was derived from Japanese traditional knife/sword skills technology (1)

Later on, a company was established in Sumida-ku, with a large number of cutlery craftsman. However, the invention of the safety razor, electric shaving machines, …
made that there was fewer demand for the Western straight razor

After Mr. Tanifuji had closed the production of his Western straight razors,
he transferred his main machinery and materials to Mr. Iwasaki, Sanjo Works

Master Tanifuji retired at the age of 79, around 1973

Tanifuji Fukutaro“, famous as “Master of Razor”, was registered in 1986Sumida-ku, “Intangible Cultural Properties”, as a technology certification holder (1) (2)

The Emperor Taisho shaved himself by a Tanifuji razor, he kept his beloved Tanifuji Fukutaro’s razor at Tokyo Sumida-ku government office, exhibiting it from time to time.

Master “Tanifuji Fukutaro” made razors (as a OEM) for the company 
“Nichiri” (Tokyo,Taito-ku)/”Nichiri Co.” (See Nichiri Co. ), which is one of the largest
barber shop and beauty salon equipment supplier in Japan.

He also made razors for  “TOKYO OSAKA YAMAAI Co.,Ltd.
(this trademark is also seen as “YAMA”):
Tanifuji Yamaai 1 Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

There were several brands, such as: 

  • Airi
    Tanifuji AIRI 1 Tanifuji AIRI 2
  • BA’BA (700, 1000, 1072)
    Tanifuji Ba'Ba 700 1 Tanifuji Ba'Ba 700 2
    Tanifuji Ba'Ba.png Tanifuji BA'BA.jpg
    Tanifuji Ba'Ba 1072 1 Tanifuji Ba'Ba 1072 3 Tanifuji Ba'Ba 1072 2
    BA’BA (Bābā バーバー) = BABA is the Japanese pronunciation of the word “Barber”
  • CAPE ((?) → See below)
    1000 CAPE, Swedish steel,
    Extra Hollow Ground, First Quality, N.R.K.
    Tanifuji CAPE 1000 1a1 Tanifuji CAPE 1000 1a2Tanifuji CAPE 1000 1a3
    (登録商標 = tōroku shōhyō = registered trademark
    谷藤 = Tanifuji, 福 in circles = Fukutarō)
  • “77” Cape-Kennedy-Razor, NT-77, F. Tanifuji, Nichiri Co., Tokyo Japan
    (a limited series which “F. Tanifuji” made in 1971, when he was 77y. old
    By the way, between 1963 to 1973 “Cape Kennedy” was the official name
    for the area of “Cape Canaveral”)
    TANIFUJI 77 CAPE Kennedy 1
    TANIFUJI 77 CAPE Kennedy 2 TANIFUJI 77 CAPE Kennedy 3
    (登録商標 = tōroku shōhyō = registered trademark, 谷藤 = Tanifuji, 福太郎 = Fukutarō)
    (“Tanifuji” produced different razors for “Nichiri”)
  • CLUB RAZOR (made in 1962)
    Tanifuji Club razor 1 Tanifuji Club razor 2
    Tanifuji Club razor 3.png Tanifuji Club razor 3 kopie
    (登録商標 = tōroku shōhyō = registered trademark, 谷藤 = Tanifuji, 福 in circles
    = “Maru-Fuku”, though it probably means: Fukutarō (his forname))

  • Command
  • HELMAN (1958)
    Tanifuji Helman Tanifuji Helman 2
  • HOLCO (555)
    Tanifuji HOLCO 1 Tanifuji HOLCO 2
  • IWASAKI T (marked with the sign of IWASAKI 岩崎 and a “T”)
    iwasaki-fukutaro-tanifuji-4 iwasaki-fukutaro-tanifuji-5
  • IWASAKI Tokiwa
    SONY DSC Iwasaki by Tanifuji, Fukutaro 1e
    (㊂ = “Marusan” = sign/trademark of Iwasaki;トキワ = Tokiwa
    登録商標 = tōroku shōhyō = registered trademark

    谷藤 福太郎 = Tanifuji Fukutarō) → Also see “Iwasaki”,
    Tanifuji Fukutarō made razors for Iwasaki,
    and taught him as well how to make straight razors

  • KINTAKA (60, Sculp – Sculpture Razor – Trademark) 
    Kintaka 60 Sculp 1a1 Kintaka 60 Sculp 1a2 Kintaka 60 Sculp 1a4Kintaka 60 Sculp 1a3
  • KOKUOU 1978 AA, N79
    登録商標 = tōroku shōhyō = registered trademark
    谷藤 = Tanifuji, 福 in circles = Fukutarō
    Tanifuji Razor Registered Trade Mark
    Tanifuji Fukutaro KOKUOU 1978 AA 1a1Tanifuji Fukutaro KOKUOU 1978 AA 1a2Tanifuji Fukutaro KOKUOU 1978 AA 1a3
  • König 47
    Tanifuji König 1 Tanifuji König 2
    Tanifuji König 3 Tanifuji König 4

  • Marutama 5000 
    Tanifuji Marutama 5000 1a1 Tanifuji Marutama 5000 1a2
    (登録商標 = tōroku shōhyō = registered trademark
    谷藤 = Tanifuji, 福 in circles = Fukutarō)
  • Maxfli Gold (100, 2000,…)
    Tanifuji Maxfli 1 kopie 2
    Tanifuji Maxfli 1 kopie Tanifuji Maxfli 1
  • Maxfli 5000 Stainless Steel
    tanifuji-maxfli-5000-1a-kopie-2 tanifuji-maxfli-5000-1b-kopie-2
  • Mizukami 1500
    Tanifuji Mizukami 1a1 Tanifuji Mizukami 1a2
  • Rikishia, 666 Trademark Nichiri, 谷藤 = Tanifuji
    (“Tanifuji” produced different razors for “Nichiri” → Also see Nichiri Co.)
    Tanifuji Rikshia 3.jpg
  • Robuso, 1972 Silber – Stahl Garantie
    tanifuji-robuso-5 tanifuji-robuso-6
  • Sō bō 総房 
  • Spalding
    Tanifuji Spalding 2016-07-30 om 13.37.35 2 Tanifuji Spalding 2016-07-30 om 13.36.56
    Tanifuji Spalding 2016-07-30 om 13.37.35 Tanifuji Spalding 2016-07-30 om 13.37.01
  • (Update 2019, May)
    TANIFUJI, Swedish-steel-razor
    Tanifuji Swedish-steel-razor 1a1.Tanifuji Swedish-steel-razor 1a2
    Tanifuji Swedish-steel-razor 1a3.Tanifuji Swedish-steel-razor 1a4

  • TANIFUJI, No 1, Silver Steel
    Tanifuji Silver steel 1 Tanifuji Silver steel 2
  • TANIFUJI, Tanifuji Razor Registered, Trademark, 6125 Silver Steel
    tanifuji-4tanifuji-5 tanifuji-6
  • TF. Hairop
    Tanifuji TF. Hairop 2 Tanifuji TF. Hairop 2 kopie
    Tanifuji TF. Hairop 3 Tanifuji TF. Hairop 3 kopie Tanifuji TF. Hairop 3 kopie 2  Tanifuji, Maru-Fuku 2 = Tanifuji, Maru-Fuku 1 = 福 in circles = Fukutarō
  • THREE DOLL 6428 Full Warranted 
    tanifuji-three-doll-1b-2 tanifuji-three-doll-1c-2
    登録商標 = tōroku shōhyō = registered trademark
    谷藤 = Tanifuji, 福 in circles = Fukutarō
  • Tokiwa (523)トキワ
  • Uga 宇賀
    Tanifuji Uga 1 Tanifuji Uga 2
  • Wogen
(Update ’18, Sept)

When comparing these 2 razors:

  • IWASAKI Tokiwa
    SONY DSC Iwasaki by Tanifuji, Fukutaro 1e
  • Tokiwa (523)トキワ
    SONY DSC  and knowing that
    “Tanifuji Fukutarō” made razors for “Iwasaki”, I believe it is very plausible
    that “Tokiwa” (トキワ) is a company’s name, and that “Iwasaki” also worked
    with “Tokiwa” (There are “Iwasaki – Tokiwa” razors as well → see Iwasaki)

There are, although pretty rare, CAPE, CLUB RAZOR’s signed by Tanifuji. 

There also exists (much more!) CAPE, CLUB RAZOR’s,… that aren’t signed by Tanifuji…
For me, it is not clear that these razors were made by Tanifuji himself,
although they certainly also were produced at/for “Nichiri” and there could
be a link with “Perfect Works” (see further)…

On bases of the paper, seen in the article “Nichiri Co. “,
we discover that the following symbol:


is in fact the trademark/symbol of the brand “CAPE” (ケープ = Kēpu = Cape)!
For now, IMHO, it seems that “CAPE” was a trademark of razors, made by

“F. Tanifuji”, “Perfect Works”, maybe others…, and distributed/sold
by “Nichiri” (or others as well).
For me, it is at this moment not clear if 
“F. Tanifuji” & “Perfect Works” are one and the same…
(Kikuboshi also seems involved, see further)


  • CAPE, Trade Mark, All Steel, NICHIRI. KK.
    (without number, this one is a frame-back razor,

    the others, numbered ones, are full hollow ground razors)
    Cape, Nichiri 12a Cape, Nichiri 12b
  • 30 CAPE, Swedish steel, For Barbers’ Use, First Quality
    Cape, Nichiri 4a Cape, Nichiri 4bCape, Nichiri 4c
    30 CAPE, Swedisch Steel, (Meiji centenary model, made around 1968,
    → see Japanese markings, kanji, symbols →  “Meiji centenary model”)

    1 CAPE 30 NICHIRI Meiji centenary model 1a  1 CAPE 35 NICHIRI Meiji centenary model 1b
  • 35 CAPE, Swedish steel, For Barbers’ Use, First Quality
    Cape, Nichiri 5a Cape, Nichiri 5bCape, Nichiri 5c
    35 CAPE, Swedish Steel, Cape Razor, Particular Hollow Ground,
    (Meiji centenary model, made around 1968,

    → see Japanese markings, kanji, symbols →  “Meiji centenary model”)
    1 CAPE 35 NICHIRI Meiji centenary model 1a 1 CAPE 35 NICHIRI Meiji centenary model 1b1 CAPE 35 NICHIRI Meiji centenary model 1c
  • 500 CAPE, Swedish steel, PERFECT WORKS, Silver Steel,
    For Barbers’Use, First Quality

    Cape, Nichiri 6a Cape, Nichiri 6b
    Cape, Nichiri 7a Cape, Nichiri 7b
  • 650 CAPE, Swedish steel, PERFECT WORKS, Silver Steel
    Cape, Nichiri 8a Cape, Nichiri 8b
  • 700 CAPE (Dreit-werkje? → Maybe “Drei Werke” = 3 factories?)
    Cape, Nichiri 10a Cape, Nichiri 10b
  • 750 CAPE, Swedish steel, For Barbers’ Use, First Quality
    Cape, Nichiri 11a Cape, Nichiri 11b
  • 850 CAPE, Swedish steel, For Barbers’ Use, First Quality
    Cape, Nichiri 9a Cape, Nichiri 9b
  • 1000 CAPE, Swedish steel, For Barbers’ Use, First Quality,
    Extra Hollow Ground, First Quality, N.R.K.

    Cape, Nichiri 3a Cape, Nichiri 3b
    Cape, Nichiri 2c
  • 1372 CAPE, Swedish steel, For Barbers’ Use, First Quality, NICHIRI 
  • 2000 CAPE, Swedish steel, For Barbers’ Use, First Quality, Tokyo NICHIRI Osaka
    CAPE 2000, Nichiri 1a kopie CAPE 2000, Nichiri 1a kopie 2.jpg
    CAPE 2000, Nichiri 1b CAPE 2000, Nichiri 1c


  • 2000 Club Razor, Fukutaro Tanifuji Sei, Registered Trademark
    Club Razor For Barbers, PERFECT WORKS, Silver Steel
    tanifuji-2000-club-razor-1a1tanifuji-2000-club-razor-1a2 tanifuji-2000-club-razor-1a3
    The box and the tang has the same “Registers Trademark” of 2 Clubs,
    this is identical with the “Tanifuji” signed Club Razor (See above).
    On the same razor we find “Club Razor” & the trademark together with
    “Perfect Works”, linking “Perfect works” with Tanifuji!
    (See above → Cape, Perfect Works)
    Regretfully I don’t know what the exact link is, maybe Tanifuji owned this factory, but didn’t make these razors himself, or they used  his name, I really don’t know…
  • We also can see “PERFECT WORKS” on some “Kikuboshi” razors:
    8600 Kikuboshi, extra hollow ground, PERFECT WORKS, silver steelkikuboshi-8600-perfect-works-1c kikuboshi-8600-perfect-works-1d
    Also see → Kikuboshi – Takehana
    I don’t understand the connection yet…


(1) seiyoukamisoridaizen.blog.so-net.ne.jp

(2) wikipedia.org/wiki/Intangible_Cultural_Property_(Japan)
無形文化財: “Intangible Cultural Properties” of Japan, as defined by the Japanese government’s Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties (1950), are Cultural Properties of high historical or artistic value such as drama, music, and craft techniques. The term refers exclusively to human skills possessed by individuals or groups which are indispensable to produce Cultural Properties. Items of particular importance can be designated as Important Intangible Cultural Properties .

This entry was posted in Tanifuji (Fukutarō). Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Tanifuji (Fukutarō)

  1. GabbaZoomZoom says:

    Any idea what particular kind of razor the Japanese Emperor used?


  2. Nate Kangur says:

    Any information about the kikuboshi feon 8500 Swedish steel razor? The scales have Japanese characters and below them A3831 on one side. Eny info wood help thanks


  3. Pingback: Iwasaki – Tanifuji | Fikira

  4. Pingback: Bōsō 房総 | Fikira

  5. Pingback: Kamijō Yukio | Fikira

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