The only website I’ve been able to find that sells the knives of all the knife-makers at Takefu is Chefs Knives to Go I’ve been using a couple of their knives—two santokus with traditional Japanese wooden handles, but a more Western blade-edge geometry—ever since my visit and they’re definitely worth checking out. Defining characteristics of Japanese kitchen knives are toughness (resistance to breaking), sharpness (smallest carbide and grain for smallest apex reduce force in cutting), edge life (an index for the length of time an edge will cut based on lack of edge rolling or chipping), edge quality (toothy with large carbides or refined with small carbides), and ease of sharpening (steel easily abrades in stone and forms a sharp edge). Many major cutlery-making companies are based in Seki, producing the highest-quality kitchen knives in both the traditional Japanese style and western styles, such as the gyuto and the santoku Knives and swords are so integral to the city that it is home to the Seki Cutlery Association, the Seki Swordsmith Museum, the Seki Outdoor Knife Show, the October Cutlery Festival, and the Cutlery Hall. A Japanese knife should never be used for heavier-duty cutting tasks such as chopping through tough vegetables or bones as this will usually chip or even break the blade, while a Western or European knife with its thicker and more robust blade is more suitable to cutting through harder foods although it will also need more frequent sharpening to keep its edge sharp. Up-to-date pricing and reviews for Japanese knives on the market can be found at the knife block set central website.
An ideal choice for professional chefs at a variety of skill levels, Shun Classic 10” Chef’s Knife features a traditional Japanese handle and blade profile, crafted from genuine Pakkawood for unmatched agility and intuitive grip. Japanese chefs knives are generally able to be sharpened to a much finer angle at the cutting edge because of the harder steel. Traditional Japanese knives come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, which are designed to perform specialized tasks, such as butchering fish and cutting vegetables, noodles, sashimi, eel, or blowfish…if cutting blowfish is something you aspire to. These knives have historically featured single-beveled blades, meaning that they’re angled only on one side and are therefore right- or left-handed (usually right-handed, which is unfortunate for a lefty like me).
Whilst most Western kitchen knives have classic designs with steel blades and riveted handles, a great number of Japanese knives stand out for having aesthetic blades and beautiful, D-shaped handles. Knives are the same cold steel-edged tools used as cutting instruments, that have a pointing blade with a sharp edge on one side and a strong handle on the other. But contrary to a widely-circulated misunderstanding, all Japanese knife blades have a core of high-carbon steel which forms the cutting edge.
Knife blades come in various types of steel as well as both western and Japanese style handles. Made from Japanese steel with a VG-10 core and 67 layers to give a Damascus-look finish, the KUMA Professional 8″ chef’s knife has been hand finished with V-Sharpe sharpening technology. The Yoshihiro 8¼” gyuto chef’s knife is a versatile chef’s knife made with a three layer construction of VG-10 Japanese stainless steel center core with HRC-60 for edge retention, sharpness and durability.
Made with premium Japanese stainless steel, the knives in the Ginsu Gourmet Shikara Series 12 piece Japanese knife set (07112DS) are full tang blades with black handles. Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect chef’s knife or need a special blade for slicing meat, vegetables, or fish, these blades are some of the best Japanese cutlery on the market right now. The edge of Japanese blades are more long-lasting and don’t need frequent sharpening thanks to the hard steel they are made of. They contain high carbon, which makes them hard and allows to keep the sharpness for a long time.
Many of these knife types have specific usages (vegetable, fish, carving, butchering, etc.), but there are two Japanese knives that are meant for general usage – Gyuto (i.e. Japanese chef’s knife), and Santoku. Handcrafted according to ancient Japanese sword-making tradition, Enso HD 8″ Chef’s Knife features a full tang blade profile and arrives fully sharpened to a twelve-degree edge. Produced according to ancient Japanese tradition, the exquisite chef’s knife is handmade following the Honbazuke method; a three-step process that involves expert honing and extensive sharpening to achieve a razor-sharp twelve-degree edge.
Incorporating elegant appearance in conjunction with unmatched performance, Japanese knives follow in the ancient sword-making tradition—yielding thin, razor-sharp blades, ergonomic handles, and quality craftsmanship that emphasizes an intuitive, balanced design. Our selections are far and wide from our Honyaki Knife Series, the purest reflection of the traditional art of Japanese sword making, to the ZDP-189 Chefs Knife Series, a vanguard of modern Japanese cutlery synthesizing cutting edge metallurgy with age old traditional techniques. The steel used in Japanese knives is renowned for its toughness, sharpness, edge life and quality and ease of sharpening, but each knife is slightly different.
A gyuto knife is the closest thing in the world of Japanese knives to a traditional western chef’s knife. Although there certainly are Japanese kitchen knives with riveted handles, the traditional Japanese handle is different to the one of a Western knife. Most quality Japanese knives can be sharpened to a much finer angle at the cutting edge because of the harder steel.
This tradition is evident in the designs, handles, and blades you’ll see in the knives and cutlery on our site… but nothing compares to actually holding and using these amazing Japanese knives in your own kitchen. Despite the growing awareness and popularity of hand crafted and traditional Japanese knives around the world, the number of people hand-forging blades, hand-finishing edges and crafting handles decreases every year. Japanese knives are thinner and lighter than German or other Western-type blades – and again, it takes a labour time and true craftsmanship to balance the blade and the handle ( The Difference Between Western vs. Japanese Style Knives ).
While these knives are usually sharpened symmetrically on both sides, their blades are still given Japanese-style acute-angle cutting edges of 8-10 degrees per side with a very hard temper to increase cutting ability. Professional knife sharpeners use electric belt or wheel sharpeners to hone an edge while chefs use Whetstones when hand sharpening their knives. Seki City is considered the home of modern Japanese cutlery producing western styles knives like the Usuba, a blunt tipped knife for dicing and slicing vegetables popular with American chefs.
Their blades are thinner, in part because of the sharper angles, but also because Japanese Chefs do more finesse work with their knives. For a true hand-made, traditional Japanese knife, take a look at the Yoshihiro Hongasumi Edo Usuba Its blade is made of super-hardened Blue Steel #2. A note to beginners: true, single-beveled Usuba knives like this one are very difficult to use and master. Generally speaking, the stronger the steel, the more corrosive it is. Japanese chefs tend to favour blue 2 steel blades which are sharper and stronger, but can also can rust easily without the proper care.
Professional Japanese chefs sharpen their knives daily but as a home user, probably once a month will suffice to keep the edge even and the angle correct on the blade. Traditional Japanese knives have oval, octagonal or D-shaped handles (wa-handle) often made of exotic woods while Western knives manufactured with Japanese techniques often have a triple riveted Western handle also known as a yo-handle which also adds some weight to the knife. With a VG-MAX cutting core, the Shun Premier 8″ chef’s knife also has 34 layers of Damascus cladding on each side and has been hand sharpened to a 16 degree double beveled edge.
Like all Japanese knives, this is a lighter weight knife and because of its lighter weight, it does not contain a bolster between the handle and blade; instead, it has a finger notch between the blade and handle, which a small number of buyers have found a little uncomfortable when using it for any length of time. The Shun Classic 8″ chef’s knife with its Damascus-look finish and extra tungsten for a sharper edge is our best pick of the Japanese knives. I’ve bought some chef knives over the years and I can boldly say that Enso HD – Best Japanese Gyuto Chef Knife is the best for me as it doesn’t just give an amazing cutting experience but is very easy to use.
Most of the premium Japanese chef knives feature traditional Pakkawood or otherwise high-quality wooden handles. Their Fusion 10 model takes the steel quality of traditional Japanese cutlery and mixes it with the comfort and convenience of Western-style knives. As an amateur chef, I recommend starting with a decent, entry-level gyuto (i.e. chef’s knife) or santoku (all-around knife), before venturing off into the endless array of knife types (nakiri, yanagi, deba etc.). I hope that this guide was helpful in helping you choose your Japanese kitchen knife!
Overall, the Shun Classic Chef’s Knife is a great gyuto, and may appeal to those that want a blend between Western and Japanese style knives. Like Kessaku Samurai Series Professional Knife Set, Kessaku Samurai Series 8″ Chef Knife features premium construction from high carbon Japanese steel, designed and developed in Japan to incorporate ancient tradition and cutting edge technology. With a Rockwell Hardness rating, the traditional Japanese chef’s knife resists corrosion and dullness while maintaining optimal sharpness thanks to its fifteen-degree edge.
Constructed from sixty-seven layers of high carbon Japanese steel, Kuma Professional 8″ Chef Knife boasts a razor-sharp edge and chip-resistant blade engineered for durable long-lasting performance. Equipped with a military-grade G10 handle and high carbon steel construction, Dalstrong 8″ Chef’s Knife Shadow Black Series effortlessly slices with a razor-sharp scalpel edge and nonstick, corrosion-resistant finish. Handcrafted according to the ancient Honbazuke method, Miyabi Birchwood 8″ Chef’s Knife offers authentic craftsmanship and a traditional thin blade profile, honed to a razor-sharp twelve-degree edge.
With a premium birchwood handle and traditional Japanese “D” shaped end cap, Miyabi Birchwood 8″ Chef’s Knife yields expert maneuverability and an ergonomic contour suitable for small or large hands. Like all Japanese cutlery, Shun Classic 10” Chef’s Knife is designed to deliver agile precision and increased leverage, free of the vigorous and tiresome motions used to operate traditional western counterparts. Check out our top picks expertly chosen by skilled reviewers, from all-purpose kitchen knives crafted from high carbon steel to sleek titanium samurai blades that make an elegant addition to any Japanese knife collection.
These distinctions only get you so far, though, since many Japanese knife-makers go beyond traditional Japanese styles to sell a wide range of hybrid knives that blend Japanese and Western characteristics—santoku and gyuto knives are relatively commonplace examples. The softer steels used in many Western knives are less brittle, so their micro-thin blade edges can roll to one side or another before they break; a rolled edge can be reset with a honing rod , something that won’t work well with the more brittle, harder steel of a Japanese knife. Western knives, on the other hand, have shapes most home cooks in the US are probably familiar with ( paring knives , chef’s knives , bread knives , etc.), and are ambidextrous by design: the blade is sharpened symmetrically on both sides, for a double-beveled edge.
These traditional Japanese knives are made with a slip-resistant bamboo handle and a one-sided razor-sharp edge. One of the big differences between Japanese and Western knives is that Western knives usually have a ‘bolster’ in between the handle and the blade of the knife, but Japanese knives generally don’t. With a definitive collection of Japanese blades – over 2000 different styles to choose from – expert advice on selecting the most suitable blade, an in-house sharpening service, lessons on cutting techniques and sharpening, as well as an unparalleled range of accessories, this is an absolute must for anyone seeking the best.
Below, we’ll go over some of the key differences between Japanese knives and traditional western knives and have a look at some of the more famous Japanese kitchen blades. Let us also add that the renowned Japanese expertise and traditional know-how in the manufacturing of blades for swords, sabres, and katanas has also helped Japanese manufacturers to create remarkably sharp kitchen knives. Indeed, Japanese knives are mainly characterised for having ultra sharp blades that not only cut better but also remain sharp for longer time before needing to be sharpened again.
In 2014 I bought the 120mm of the box it was extremely after some time I decided it needed sharpening,but I was not skilled and used an adjustable angle guide which I used for all of my knives giving a v edge.I found that this was not good for this knife and after trying(for much too long)I had ground alot of steel away and became put the knife away realizing that I need to learn freehand sharpening. These knives combine the style and detail of the best Japanese knives with a familiar Western handle for those preferring a more robust knife that still cuts excellently. Japanese knives are generally able to be sharpened to a much finer angle at the cutting edge because of the harder steel.
Western-style knives on the other hand, have thin, lightweight blades that are sharpened on both sides, a versatile design that caters to chefs of all cuisines. Traditionally, Japanese kitchen knives were crafted with a carbon steel identical to those used in the manufacture of katanas – the swords carried by samurai warriors Today, though many years of swordsmiths turning their attention to cutlery instead of weapons, stainless steel is commonly used to produce high-quality Japanese knives instead. Unlike western knives, Japanese knives are often only single ground , meaning that they are sharpened so that only one side holds the cutting edge.
Sometimes, to celebrate the completion of a Japanese chef’s apprenticeship, a silver-colored, metal spacer is attached to the ebony handle of their chef’s knife. There are four general categories used to distinguish the Japanese knife designs: handle (Western vs. Japanese), blade grind (single bevel vs. double bevel), steel (stainless vs. carbon), and construction (laminated vs. monosteel). Until recently Western-style chef knives were manufactured with a bolster (see photo), a thick collar between the heel of the blade and the handle, although today most Western knife manufacturers produce models without the bolster too. Be sure to visit knife block set central for the best Japanese knives on the market to buy.
For many years the Western-style chef knife was the standard for most cooks but in recent times Japanese knives have become popular too. Design/Construction: Traditionally, most German knives are constructed to have a full-tang (blade runs from the tip of the knife to the handle) and a bolster (joint part of the steel before the handle). Also, even though the Japanese knives use a harder and sharper steel, most of the blades seem thinner and more delicate.