Which types of Japanese knives are there?
Japanese knives are very popular and come in many shapes, sizes and types. In this article we take a look at the most popular Japanese knives from our range.
It is not surprising that Japanese knives are so popular. Japanese kitchen knives are considered to be the best kitchen knives available. Due to the extremely hard type of steel, a Japanese knife can be sharpened at a sharper angle than a European knife. The knife is therefore much sharper and stays sharp longer.
Continue reading below to learn more about the different types of Japanese knives.
The Santoku is a Japanese version of the Western chef's knife. The name of the knife stands for "three purposes", namely cutting, chopping and carving vegetables, meat and fish. The Santoku is therefore a real all-rounder. A Santoku knife has a high and straight blade. The blade is the same width over almost the entire length and only tapers off at the tip. With a blade length of 18 centimeters on average, the knife is smaller and therefore lighter than the chef's knife. The cutting technique of a Santoku also differs from a chef's knife. A Santoku uses a cutting technique with a chopping movement from back-top to bottom-front, which releases the knife from the cutting board.
The Nakiri is the traditional Japanese vegetable knife. The blade of a Nakiri knife is very thin so that vegetables can be cut very finely. Japanese Nakiri knives can be recognized by their rectangular blade. A Nakiri knife is comfortable to hold and is suitable for precise and fine cutting of vegetables. All in all, a Nakiri knife is the knife for cutting vegetables.
The Gyuto is the Japanese chef's knife that is mainly used for cutting meat and large vegetables. A Gyuto looks the same as a Western chef's knife, the Gyuto can be distinguished by its harder type of steel and often wooden handle. The length of the blade often differs between 20 and 26 cm. The Gyuto can be recognized by its wide blade that tapers to a point. The wide blade ensures that you can easily move the cut food and your fingers are protected during cutting. Due to the convexity of the cutting edge of the knife, you can not only cut, but also use the ' cradle ' cutting technique, for example to finely cut herbs. This all-rounder can be used for all cutting tasks.
The Kiritsuke , also called K-Tip Gyuto, is one of the Japanese knives that can be used in multiple ways. The knife can be recognized by its unique K-like shape. The Kiritsuke is the go-to knife for Japanese chefs and is often reserved for the 'executive chefs' in Japanese kitchens. A Kiritsuke combines aspects of the blade of a Nakiri and a Sujihiki (fish knife). That makes the Kiritsuke a hybrid all-rounder.
The Yanagiba is a long Japanese knife used for cutting sushi and sashimi (raw fish). The Yanagiba is known in Japan as the kitchen katana. This is due to the shape of the blade: long, thin and a pointed tip. This knife is really perfect for lovers of fish and sushi. Ideal for cutting delicious sushi rolls. The Yanagiba is always sharpened on one side.
The Sujihiki is a carving knife, also known as a slicing knife or carving knife. The Sujihiki is suitable for slicing (carving) meat and fish. Its long and thin blade ensures that you can effortlessly cut a nice piece or slice of meat in one stroke.
In addition, there are many more less well-known Japanese types of knives. Check this Wikipedia page for a list of all the different types and styles.
Types of materials
Japanese knives are very popular kitchen knives made of stainless steel , damascus steel or tamahagane . The difference between Western and Japanese knives is that the knife is less heavy and the handle is made of wood. Japanese knives are also often made of more unique types of steel.
Stainless steel is widely known, but tamahagane is not. Japanese knives made from tamahagane are one of the most unique knives out there. There are only 3 locations in Japan where the unique steel for Japanese knives is made in limited quantities.
Most Japanese knives are made of Damascus steel, which is very similar to tamahagane. The process of both samples is also partly similar. In both cases, the steel is folded several times so that the carbon is spread over the blade to promote hardness.
Most Japanese knives you will encounter are made of damascus steel. Check out the video below about authentic Japanese damascus steel knives from a Japanese family business:
Would you like to know more about how damascus steel is produced? Then read our previous blog about Damascus steel .
Naturally, all kinds of different Japanese knives are made from this beautiful steel. Japanese cuisine has a range of knives, each of which has its own unique properties and function.
Sharpen Japanese knives
How do you sharpen a Japanese knife? It is best to sharpen a Japanese knife with a whetstone. Important when sharpening with a whetstone is the right grit whetstone.
How do you determine the right grit whetstone? That depends on the condition of the knife. You use a low grit if your knife is really blunt, a high grit to keep your knife sharp.
Grit 200-600 Restore (blunt)
Grain 800-1000 Sharpen
Grain 2000-3000 can be sharper
Grain 3000-8000 Make razor sharp
Suppose you sharpen a completely blunt knife, then you need several sharpening stones, starting from a small grain and increasing to a grain of 8000. Don't worry, a whetstone often has 2 sides with different grains.
The above is the Double-sided sharpening stone with bamboo holder - GRIT 3000/8000 from KookGiant. This sharpening stone has a high grain and is for polishing to make/keep the already sharp knife razor sharp. The whetstone has 2 sides of which the intention is to first use the coarser grit (3000) and end with the fine grit (8000).
Why buy Japanese knives from KookGiant?
The cooking giant has a very wide range of Japanese knives in stock. Due to the large numbers of knives that we sell, we can sell unique items for a good price.
Besides the fact that our knives cut incredibly well, they are also the perfect items to give as a gift. Each Kookgigant knife or knife set comes with a luxury gift box. So that the knives arrive in one piece and are a joy to unpack. We are proud to offer every customer the following:
- Quality knives for a low price
- Free shipping above €20,-
- 2 year warranty
- Luxury gift box
- 30 days reflection period
And finally lots of cooking fun!
GR team Cooking giant .