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Find Your Perfect Japanese Knife

TAOP Staff / September 5, 2016

Chubo Knives

There’s no doubt that Japanese knives are marvelous. For centuries, Japanese blacksmiths have crafted perfection into sharp, thin blades that many chefs frequently pine over. Whether you’re in store for your next knife or just curious about all the options, we’ve got you covered. We’ve teamed up with Chubo Knives on this guide explaining the different types of Japanese knives and how to use them.

 

All Purpose

Chef's Knife

Gyutou / Chef’s Knife
Gyutou are the Japanese equivalent of a typical European chef’s knife. They are the ideal all-purpose kitchen knives and can be used for most tasks.  Japanese gyutou are typically lighter and thinner than a European knife, are made out of a harder steel and as a result, hold a better edge.  The design features nothing to obstructing the edge of the handle end of the blade, so it can be sharpened and thus used entirely.  The wordgyutou in Japanese means ‘beef knife’.

See all Gyutou Knives >

 

Santoku / Multipurpose
Santoku, which means ‘three virtues’ in Japanese, is an all-purpose knife with a taller blade profile than a gyutou. Its three virtues are the knife’s ability to cut fish, meat and vegetables. Santoku have a flatter ‘belly’ than gyutou and can be used comfortable with an up and down chopping motion rather than a ‘rocking’ type cut.

See all Santoku Knives

 

Sujihiki / Slicer
Sujihiki knives are the equivalent to a European slicer with a few differences.  First, the blade is typically thinner and made out of a harder steel, allowing for better edge retention.  Additionally, the bevel on the blade is sharpened at a steeper angle, allowing for a more precise cut.  Sujihiki can be used for filleting, carving and general purposes.

See all Sujihiki Knives

 

Fruit / Vegetables

Petty / Paring
Petty knives are small utility or paring knives that are ideal for small, delicate work that a chef’s knife can’t handle such as delicate produce and herbs, small fruits and vegetables.

See all Petty Knives

 

Nakiri / Vegetable Knife
Nakiri knives are the double edged Western style equivalent of a single edged Japaneseusuba knife.  Thanks to their straight blade, nakiri are ideal for julienne, brunoise allumette an other precision knife cuts for vegetables.  Also a great tool for cutting into very hard skinned produce like pumpkins and squash.

See all Nakiri Knives

 

Usuba / Vegetable Knife
The usuba is a traditional Japanese vegetable knife with a single edge.  Single-edged knives are able to get incredibly sharp and are favored for precise vegetable work.  The Kamagata Usuba, pictured above has a curved tip, which is a regional variation from Osaka.

See all Usuba Knives

 

Meat / Poultry

Honesuki / Boning
honesuki is a Japanese boning knife and differs from its Western version, in that it has a triangular shape and a stiff blade with very little flex.  The honesuki works incredibly well for deboning poultry and cutting through soft joints.  Typically it has an asymmetrical edge although 50/50 balanced versions (not favoring left of right handed use) exist.  Due to its shape and height, the honesuki can also function nicely as a utility or petty style of knife.

See all Honesuki Knives

 

Hankotsu / Boning
A Hankotsu is a Japanese boning knife and differs from a Western boning knife in its shape. It has a thick spine and durable blade with none of the ‘flex’ found in a Western boning knife.  Originally suited to debone hanging meats, it is excellent at cleaning loins, but can function as a petty or utility knife on the fly.

See all Hankotsu Knives

Yo-deba / Butchery
Yo-deba knives are heavy, durable knives with a thick spine, which are used for fish and meat butchery.  They typically feature a 50/50 balance so they are appropriate for both left and right handed use.

See all Yo-deba Knives

Fish

Deba / Butchery
Deba are traditional single bevel Japanese knives with a thick spine and a lot of weight.  They are used for fish butchery, filleting and can also be used on poultry.  Their size varies depending on the size of the fish or animal that is broken down.

See all Deba Knives

 

Yanagi / Slicer
Yanagi are single-edged traditional Japanese knives used in a long drawing motion to cut precise slices of sushi, sashimi and crudo and their single-edge means they are able get incredibly sharp.

See all Yanagi Knives

 

Takobiki / Slicer
Takobiki are a variation of a yanagi and originated in the Kanto (Tokyo) region of Japan. They are also single-edged allowing for an incredibly sharp edge and are used for slicing sushi, sashimi and crudo.  Its rumored that the blunt tip end was favored by sushi chefs in Tokyo because tight spaces meant they had less distance between themselves and customer, so the flat edge tip made for a safer experience.

See all Takobiki Knives

 

Kiritsuke / Slicer
The kiritsuke is a traditional Japanese knife with an angled tip that can be used as either a sashimi knife or as an all-purpose knife.  In restaurant kitchens in Japan, this knife is traditionally used by the Executive Chef only and cannot be used by other cooks.

See all Kiritsuke Knives

 

Bread

Pankiri / Bread Knife
Pankiri are designed and used for slicing bread and baked goods.  The ridged teeth are designed specifically for this purpose and can cut though hard crusts as well as delicate items without crushing.

See all Pankiri Knives

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