Japanese Kitchen Knives Buying Guide

High-quality Japanese knives and other cutlery originated in the 1300s in Sakai, considered to be the capital of Samurai sword. In the 16th century when the Portuguese introduced tobacco to Japan, Sakai craftsmen started to make steel knives for cutting tobacco. A combination of modern machinery and traditional hand tools are used to make stain-resistant carbon steel blades.  

More often than not, Japanese knives, unlike European knives, are single ground. ‘Single ground’ means that they are sharpened in such a way that only one side holds the cutting edge while the other side of the blade is blunted.  

Though using such knives requires greater skill, it was originally believed that a single-bevelled edge knife cuts better and cleaner than a double-beveled edge knife. Usually, the right hand side of the blade is angled, as most people use the knife with their right hand.  

Types of Japanese knives

In the Japanese kitchen, the deba bocho (kitchen cleaver), the santoku hocho (all-purpose utility knife), the nakiri bocho, usuba hocho (Japanese vegetable knives), tako hiki and yanagi ba (sashimi slicers) are used most frequently.  These traditional knives might not fit into your everyday needs, but consider the following designs is you like to sharpen your culinary skills.

  • Honyaki: They are made entirely out of high-carbon steel.  
  • Kasumi: These knives are made out of two materials. Like Samurai swords, Kasumi knives are made of high-carbon steel and soft iron forged together (known as san mai blades). In Kasumi knives, the blade's edge is made out of steel while the blade's body and spine is made from iron. Hongasumi is a high-grade quality Kasumi knife. Damascus knives are layered-steel kasumi knives with long-standing sharpness. 
  • San Mai: They are the more expensive type of knives. They have an inner core of hard and brittle carbon steel covered by a thick layer of soft, more ductile steel to make sure that the hard steel is exposed only at the cutting edge. 

Quick Picks

Quick Picks

Japanese Cook Knife Funayuki :

This knife has an ergonomic handle.  

James Martin Japanese Santoku Knife :

It has anti-slip handles that are user-friendly.  

Seki Magoroku Yanagida Japanese Knife :

This knife has a sharp and precise 24cm blade. 

Quick Picks

Japanese Chef’s Knife :

This 18cm blade handle has a unique angled handle.  

Clearspring Mitoku Japanese Vegetable Chopping Knife :

Chop your veggies precisely with this knife! 

Kai Ken Onion Cleaver Knife :

This is an extremely versatile kitchen knife. 

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