Japanese knives are famed globally for their incredible strength and sharpness. Their superior design and construction have been perfected throughout Japan’s tradition and long history of knife making, making them the number one choice for chefs everywhere. But just what is it that makes them so special?
Japanese knives are made using materials of the highest quality, for guaranteed durability, sharpness and strength.
There are two types of Japanese knife: honyaki knives, which are usually made using top grade, knife-specific steel, and kasumi knives, made by forging together layers of material, often high-carbon steel and soft iron. Honyaki knives are stiffer, confining them to use by elite chefs only, whereas kasumi knives have a little more ‘give’, making them suitable for cooking at all levels.
The ultimate in terms of both hardness and duration of sharpness are Damascus kasumi knives, which are carefully crafted using layers of Damascus steel in the same way as katana, or samurai swords. It works for close combat fighting, so it will certainly do wonders for your food preparation!
It’s not just the strength and sharpness of Japanese kitchen knives that make them unique. They also tend to be lighter and more elegant than European knives, allowing for more precise cuts.
Plus, while European knives have a finger guard on the bolster (the metal section connecting the handle to the blade), adding extra weight, the bolster on Japanese knives is just an extension of the blade. The handle also tends to be lighter on a Japanese knife, making it perfectly balanced for fine and complex cuts.
Japanese craftsmen take a great deal of pride in the appearance of their knives, which traditionally feature beautiful cylindrical, octagonal or D-shaped handles made using attractive black pakka wood or sandalwood.
The layers of steel in Damascus knife blades give them an almost wood-like effect, and some are slightly ‘dimpled’ (tsuchime). These dimples have the added advantage of making it easier to cut through sticky foods such as cheese and meat.
So the appeal of Japanese knives doesn’t just lie in their functionality, but also in their aesthetics. Centuries of experience in sword and knife making have enabled Japanese craftsmen to develop knives that excel in sharpness, strength, precision and beauty, with clever additions that make food preparation a pleasure rather than a chore.
The Japanese Shop has a selection of exquisite Damascus knives for sale. Please visit our website to see what we currently have on offer.