Swordsmiths, chefs at work in New Year rituals

Swordsmiths in central Japan took part in a New Year ritual on Monday.

They hammered heated steel to pray for safety at work.

Nine master swordsmiths wearing traditional white garb and headdresses from ancient times took part in the ceremony at a tourist facility in the city of Seki in Gifu Prefecture.

The city is a noted cutlery production center.

The craftsmen lit a fire and heated steel in a furnace at about 1,300 degrees Celsius. They hammered the red-hot metal to remove impurities.

Visitors watched the ritual, which has a history of more than 700 years, in awe.
Meanwhile, Japanese chefs displayed their superb filleting skills in a traditional New Year ritual dating back more than a thousand years.

The knife ceremony is a culinary art form involving the filleting of fish and other ingredients in which the chefs do not touch the food with their hands.

The ceremony was held at a Japanese garden in Yokohama and was organized by an association of chefs from Kanagawa Prefecture.

The chefs, wearing ancient costumes, filleted sea bream, which is considered a symbol of good fortune in Japan, using only knives and metal chopsticks.