The best Japanese Kitchen Knives

Japanese knives differ from European in the following parameters:

  • more sharpness of the blades (less than 20 degrees), 
  • with massive blades, 
  • thick spine, 
  • with oval handles without cuts under your fingers. 
  • Some are with a one-sided blade.

In total, there are more than 80 names, but the most common in the world – are santoku, deba, yanagi-ba, nakiri, and usuba. Shiro Gami, Ki Gami, AO Gami and VG-10 with a hardness of 58-64 HRC are used for the highest quality products. The price varies from $50 to $500.

  1. Advantages and main characteristics of Japanese knives

Japanese knives differ from European advantages are the following:

are made mainly by hand, which improves their quality;

have a smaller sharpening angle of the blades, which increases cutting properties and saves power;

they need to rule much less often (a professional knife is flawless for up to 1 year);

serve in general much longer than European, due to the high hardness of steel and quality of handles;

The raw materials do not affect the properties of the products.

  1. Features
    1. Steel

Japanese steel knives are made with unique technology, using one of the following types of material for blades:

  1. Shiro Gami. This steel is of the highest class, having a minimum of impurities. Its basis is an iron-carbon alloy, which provides the blade of the knife with special sharpness. But steel is not flexible, so the blade can break.
  2. Ki Gami. Also high carbon but not alloyed steel. Its use gives the weapon high cutting properties and durability. Key Gamy is considered a little lower class than the previous species in sharpness, but it is stronger.
  3. AO Gami. It is a high-carbon alloy steel, it contains chromium, tungsten and sometimes vanadium. The elements give the blade more strength, and durability, and facilitate the care of the product, but reduce the sharpness of the blade.

Each of the listed types of material has a hardness rating of 60 HRC. Modern knives also use steel grades VG-10 and ZDP 189. They are not traditional, but both are invented and made in Japan.

The material VG-10 is characterized by high strength, durability, anti-corrosion properties and sharpness. 

  1. Shape

The Japanese knife blades have the following shapes:

  • a triangle where the shaft and blade are equal in length and symmetrical to the tip;
  • irregular triangle when the side is rounded or has a slash or perpendicular sharp edge of the bevel;
  • almost rectangle, if the blade is straight and the opposite side of the blade is rounded or the edge is blunted;
  • petal, when the board and blade converge at a very sharp angle.

There is one thing in common – the upper line of the handle is almost always an extension of the blunt side of the blade. And the blade is usually well below the second cutter rib.

  1. Dimensions

The size of Japanese knives depends on the type of weapon, manufacturer, and series, but mostly they have large blades, and much longer handles:

  1. yanagi-ba working part is 24-36 cm;
  2. in takohiki it reaches 20-30 cm;
  3. in Usuba – 15-20 cm;
  4. in  Santoku – 16.5-19 cm.

Japanese knives with one-sided sharpening can be large and small. This feature of sharpening the blade is in the following types:

  • most Deba types (blade length 16.5-20 cm),
  • Kiritsuke, acting as a European chef knife (24-33 cm);
  • Takochiki, by which seafood is cut (27-33 cm);
  • Usuba, which is intended for cutting vegetables (21-25 cm);
  • Yanagi-ba, which has become a universal knife (27-34 cm).
  1. Types of Japanese Kitchen Knives by Purpose

Taking into account the variety of products can be distinguished the following types of Japanese knives for their purpose:

  1. chef (santoku), that is universal;
  2. for meat products;
  3. for preparing vegetables;
  4. for fish and seafood;
  5. cutting;
  6. used in the preparation of sushi and rolls.
  7. What to look for when choosing

Home cooking does not need all types of the above products, it is enough to have the:

  1. santoku,
  2. small deba,
  3. yanagi-ba for slice cutting,
  4. Nakiri or Usuba for vegetables.

It is better to take the tools that are not the maximum size (they are more suitable for professional cooks) and if possible with double sharpening.

Each company has a line of professional kitchen tools, in which the price of one is $100-500. Expensive due to the quality and hardness of steel, the manufacture of handles from rare wood. These are very sharp knives that are easy for a layperson to cut or break the product itself due to misuse.

Each company has and budget instruments worth between $50 and $100. They are more suitable for home cooking, better stored, not so dangerous, and work well. The sharpness of the blade products is approaching 20 degrees, the hardness of steel is 58-60 HRC, and the stem can be made of artificial materials.

Japanese knives help the household even in the preparation of traditional dishes, not only exotic Asian. They serve long hours but require special care. For example, it is better not to put them in the dishwasher, you can not leave them dirty for a long time, be sure to wipe them after washing. And don’t use those tools for anything.

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