“We at Dohitomi are proud of ourselves as the pioneer of machine-made fish hook production in Japan.”
Japans longest running hook manufacturer Dohitomi & Co Ltd celebrate over 100 years of fly-fishing knowledge and skills to bring to the UK some of the world’s finest fly fishing hooks.
With over 100 years of experience in the business of hook manufacturing and over 10,000 products, Dohitomi & Co Ltd, the company behind the famous hook brand Maruto are growing from strength to strength, and are continuously bringing to market outstanding quality hooks for fly tying. Through innovation, technical know-how and a craftsman’s understanding of metallurgy Dohitomi have built a long tradition of excellence in the manufacture of fishing hooks.
From Humble Beginnings
From humble beginnings in the small fishing village of Tojo, Japan, Dohitomi has grown to be a market leader in not only the development of fishing hooks but also the machinery that manufactures them. As artisans skilled in the creation of handmade fishing hooks Dohitomi quickly innovated and grew into mechanized production of fishing hooks, revolutionizing the hook industry and modernizing the ancient art of hook making. Now selling all over the world and with a capacity of more than 200 million hooks a month Dohitomi is devoting itself to the development of fly hooks that are of unequalled excellence.
Fishing hooks in Japan followed the great tradition of Japanese metal work. Hooks up until the end of the 19th century were produced by hand, bent and sharpened by master craftsmen, piece by piece. Experienced craftsmen with many years of training took pride in producing the highest quality hooks.
It was one such master craftsman Tomitaro Dohi that in 1892 brought together the workers of Tojo to produce fishing hooks and in doing so laid the foundations for Dohitomi as we know it today. Hook production at that time for Tomitaro and his collective of craftsmen was around 1,000 units per day and demand for the hooks was far outstripping supply. In 1907, Tomitara with the help of two other craftsmen, Jyutaro Fujiwara and Ryukichi Tanaka built the industry’s first hook making machines in Japan in order to better be able to supply high quality hooks to the local fishermen.
In the early years of production, machines and the production line were oil powered as no electricity was available. The machines used were the forerunners to the automated lines we know today and Dohitomi devoted themselves to ensuring the machines were able to recreate all the details and qualities that were found in the handmade hooks of the time. In the post war years of the 1940s, in order to keep up with the demand for its hooks Dohitomi continued to build on its success in innovation and developed and integrated the hook industries first fully automated manufacturing line, complete with continuous tempering plants. Under the direction of Tomitaka Dohi the successor to Tomitaro Dohi the company continued to expand and strengthen its market position trebling its turnover in a small number of years.
The invention and development of the first automated hook making machines was just the beginning in a long line of ‘firsts’ for Dohitomi in the hook industry. The company also developed and built the first continuous gas carburizing heating furnace in Japan, which also paved the way for Dohitomi to become the first company in Japan to pioneer the use of stainless steel wire in hook manufacturing. Dohitomi were also the first company in Japan to pioneer the development of the treble hook with their custom built machines.
Maruto hooks are forged with only the finest Japanese manufactured high-carbon and stainless steel wire. The unique Dohitomi tempering process provides exceptional strength and the chemical sharpening means that hooks have the sharpest needlepoints. Anti-corrosive coatings also means that Maruto hooks have a lifetime that lasts beyond those of other hooks. As a testament to their quality, Maruto hooks are responsible for numerous International Game Fish Association line class records and their tournament proven hooks are guaranteed to increase any set rate.
Tradition vs Modernization
Selling manufactured hooks proved difficult in the early years. Suspicious fishermen frowned upon the machine made hooks at first. Tradition, cost and connection to the artisanal handmade hooks of the past proved very strong and Tomitaro Dohi spent many years growing the market in Japan. By working with local fishermen all over Japan to continuously tweak and modify the newly machine made hooks Tomitaro ensured they met and surpassed the quality of the traditional handmade hooks. It was not long before fishermen saw the benefits of the new machined hooks Tomitaro was offering. Dohitomi helped bridge the gap between tradition and modernization and lay the foundations of hook making as we know it today.
Under the leadership of the Dohi family line, Dohitomi continues to set standards in the industry. Dohitomi continues to be a market leader and has been rewarded by the Japanese government for not only its contribution to Japanese industry but also its support and collaboration with local communities. As Dohitomi continues to innovate and pioneer new production techniques they devote themselves to the continued development and improvement of the art of hook making. Quality is the top focus area and Dohitomi continue to build on its reputation for high quality. The master craftsmen are still at work at Dohitomi bringing to market hooks of unrivalled excellence.