Japanese woodworker Okubo Kotaro is one of Japan’s most prolific woodworkers, known for making this distinctive curved wooden cooking spatula called “Kibera,” that he developed with input from professional chefs 9 years ago. Approximately 30,000 of his spatulas are now used in Japan by chefs and family cooks throughout Japan. He carves each piece by hand using a shave tool called “Nankin Ganna,” a version of a spoke shave with a made-to-order blade by a metalsmith precisely tuned for his use.
Kotaro makes around 6000 utensils annually, which means an astonishing rate of 500 pieces a month. Working with wood nourishes Kotaro with constant discovery and inspiration.