A few days ago a fellow forum member "spaceconvoy" posted a question in this thread
asking about the OEM for the Takenoko 8k. I read the thread and went to find him the answer but realised I didn't know it.
So then, either that night or the next, spaceconvoy contacts me through a PM and asks me what I know about this as well as the Arashiyama 6k's OEM. I replied that I knew who the Arashiyama OEM was but didn't know the OEM for the Takenoko. He then hit me with something....he told me that he was told by a store owner located in Kyuto that there is not really a Takenoko 8k, it's just a re-branded Arashiyama 6k. I was floored and started looking into the matter trying to get to the bottom of it. Now remember folks....I have Arashiyamas (at this point) on their way to me from Japan and I'm already selling the Takenoko!!!!
So after checking with some people and searching around I come to find out that the Takenoko is (for the most part - retail wise at least) not even available in Japan yet the Arashiyama is everywhere!
The person that I buy the Arashiyama from confirms 100% that this is a 6k stone and it's made by the same company in Kyuto that produces the Kitiyama. Both stones are synthetic/natural stone mixed. What could not be verified one way or the other is the true source of the Takenoko as all of my contacts get it through a 3rd party.
So at this point it's starting to stink a bit more than I like but I could only wait to get the Arashiyama Japan delivery in so that I could do some comparison testing. I wasn't able to get to this right away but I spent the afternoon today testing both stones side by side.
I took pictures of new stones, measured them, lapped them both, then sharpened with them. IMO, these two stones are one in the same, just packaged different. They both have the same exact dimensions (including the base), same color and flakes, same feel, same smell, same sharpening characteristics, everything - EXACT! Those of you who own a Takenoko will confirm that it's a unique stone in many ways and you would also have to admit that it'd be nearly impossible to mistake it's identity.
Here's a couple of pictures of the stones sitting side by side...
Now that I'm sitting back thinking about this it occurs to me that this makes sense, this stone being a 6k rather than 8k because it cuts so fast yet doesn't provide a clear shiny finish. I can see where someone would have said, "hey this stone is as good as an 8k so let's sell it as that too". Plus, this stone has been reported by so many people (myself included) as being a stone that will allow a jump from the 1k(ish) range easily skipping the middle range. Well guess what, we weren't skipping the middle after all.
So here I am with a (small) metric assload (as DC says) of Arashiyama 6k's in stock and also selling Takenoko 8k's as well. I've decided to only continue to sell the Arashiyama 6k version as this seems the more honest thing to do.
To be truthful I'm more than a little pissed off about being somewhat duped and thus duping my customers in return. I'm not upset about selling this stone labeled as 8k because I still feel it's a great stone that could easily be an 8k and those who bought the Takenoko version got a great stone. I'm upset with the fact that I sold one of each to some customers meaning that they bought two of the same stones from me and that's just not good. And on that note....I want everyone to know that if you purchased both stones from us (JKS) then we will take back one of them for a full refund even if the stone has been used. Please contact me if this applies to you and we'll straighten things out.
Also, while I have your attention, please beware when stone shopping because there's a few vendors who sell both of these stones and one even states the Arashiyama is a 7k. Caveat Emptor!
*Special thanks to "spaceconvoy" for the tip and for all your research into this. I'm grateful that you brought this to my attention so that I don't have to take part in the shenanigans.