The female Samurai who decided to conquer the male dominated world By Fati Gorezi From love to Japanese knives and Japanese culture, two Polish women, Ania Szymczak and Kamila Hankiewicz now based in London founded “Japana” in 2015, a Company of handmade Japanese knives that are created in the same technique as the Samurai weapon – the famous katana. At the end of the year, Anna Czarnowska joined their team with the responsibility to design Japanese inspired products for home and kitchen. Later Magda Furga and Ilona Jankowska joined the team as well and now they are responsible for the global expansion of the Company. At first, Japana was offering solely Japanese knives and sharpening tools – but now they offer home and kitchen products and accessories, and this was just the beginning! All these women are from Poland and share a mutual love of Japanese culture and a deep respect for the fighting Samurai spirit. Establishing a brand and trading in a foreign country can be a challenge, even more so in a male-dominated industry with a stereotypically conservative and patriarchal business system, but against the odds they have succeeded. Can you tell us more about your business? How the big idea came true? Kamila: ‘Japana’ is a brand that celebrates Japanese craftsmanship and minimalist aesthetics. We started with handmade Japanese knives but since then we have expanded into kitchenware and homeware. My fascination with Japanese Damascus steel knives was born over two years ago, when I was looking for a Christmas gift for my partner. The price and offering of J [...]

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