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From Samurai to Kitchen

Owning a Japanese kitchen knife is not just a culinary investment; it's a commitment to a piece of living history. Proper care and maintenance are essential to preserving the blade's sharpness and longevity. From regular honing to hand washing and drying, each step in the care routine reflects the chef's dedication to their craft and respect for the blade.

A Slice of History

The story of Japanese kitchen knives traces back to the samurai era, where the skills of master swordsmiths transcended into the culinary domain.

The Kamakura period (1185–1333) saw the inception of traditional Japanese sword-making techniques applied to kitchen knives. Skilled artisans known as "tosho" or swordsmiths applied their expertise in metallurgy and blade forging to create exceptional swords. The quest for creating the sharpest and most durable blades became an art form, setting the stage for the development of the renowned Japanese kitchen knives we know today.

As peace prevailed in Japan during the Meiji era (1868-1912), swordsmiths shifted their focus to crafting kitchen knives due to the decline in demand for swords.

The story of Japanese kitchen knives is a testament to the country's rich heritage of craftsmanship, blending ancient traditions with modern techniques to produce some of the finest culinary tools in the world.

Blade Mastery

Although we generally confer the same category to all Japanese knives, it is key, at the same time, to differentiate them by their characteristics, types and styles, all of them related to the subsequent use that will be given to them in the kitchen:

  • Sujihiki: Sushi and sashimi lovers' ally

    Sujihiki knives are versatile and commonly used in professional kitchens or by home cooks who prioritize precise cuts for dishes like sashimi, sushi, or other presentations where the texture and appearance of the slices matter.

  • Santoku: The Three Virtues

Known as the all-purpose knife, the Santoku seamlessly blends slicing, dicing, and chopping capabilities. Its shorter, wider blade and granton edge reduce friction, making it a versatile companion in the kitchen.

  • Gyuto: The Japanese Chef's Knife

Modeled after Western chef knives, the Gyuto boasts a thinner and sharper blade, ideal for precise cuts and fine chopping. It marries traditional Japanese techniques with a design that accommodates various cutting styles.

  • Usuba: The Vegetable Whisperer

The Usuba knife is a traditional Japanese vegetable knife primarily used for precision vegetable cutting in traditional Japanese cuisine. Its name translates to "thin blade," which aptly describes its design—having a thin, single-beveled blade that's exceptionally sharp.

It should also be noted that each region in Japan has its own knife-making traditions and styles. For instance, Seki City in Gifu Prefecture has gained renown for its long-standing tradition of crafting exceptional knives, dating back to the Kamakura period (1185–1333). Sakai City in Osaka Prefecture are also renowned for their knife-making craftsmanship, and some knives made in Sakai are endorsed by famous chefs, further solidifying their reputation for excellence. You can access to visit our genuine knives by clicking here.

The Art of Japanese Knife Making

In order to understand in a deeper way the precious result that we will finally have in our hands, we must also approach to some fundamental concepts of the process of elaboration of these sharp tools:

  • Materials Matter: Japanese knives are often crafted from high-carbon steel, which allows for a sharper edge and better edge retention. Some blades also utilize layered steel, such as the Damascus technique, which involves folding and hammering multiple layers to create a beautiful, patterned blade.

  • Forging Techniques: The traditional Japanese forging technique, known as "honyaki," involves crafting the entire blade from a single piece of high-carbon steel. Another prevalent method is "kasumi," where a softer iron is used for the spine, and a harder steel forms the cutting edge. These techniques contribute to the blade's resilience and sharpness. Japanese knife-making involves meticulous craftsmanship, often passed down through generations within family-owned workshops. The forging process includes heating, hammering, and shaping the blade, followed by tempering and honing to achieve the desired sharpness.

  • Handle Artistry: Knife handles, known as "wa" handles, are traditionally crafted from wood, such as magnolia wood, ho wood, offering a comfortable grip and balance. Some knives may also have handles made from materials like buffalo horn, synthetic materials, or even high-quality plastic. The handle's design ensures a comfortable grip, allowing the chef to have precise control over the knife during intricate cutting tasks.

Japanese blacksmith forging a knife

Pursuit of Sharpness

Japanese knives are celebrated for their razor-sharp edges. The process of honing and sharpening these knives is considered an art form. Many chefs adopt the ancient practice of using water stones to maintain and refine the blade's sharpness. The meticulous and patient approach to sharpening is a testament to the dedication and respect Japanese chefs have for their tools.

Japanese knives have gained a global reputation for their superior quality, precision, and aesthetic appeal. Chefs worldwide value them for their ability to achieve precise cuts, enhance the cooking experience, and elevate the presentation of dishes. The precision and sharpness of a Japanese knife allow for intricate cuts that preserve the texture and flavor of ingredients, contributing to the artistry of a well-prepared dish.


In the intricate world of culinary arts, Japanese kitchen knives stand as both tools and works of art. From their storied history rooted in samurai tradition to the meticulous craftsmanship that defines their creation, these knives encapsulate the essence of precision and elegance. As chefs continue to embrace the artistry of Japanese knives, the legacy of these blades endures, leaving an indelible mark on the culinary landscape.

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