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What are the different types of Japanese knives?

For some years now, we have been seeing more and more Japanese knives invading the kitchen shelves of supermarkets or specialist shops, when they do not fail to arouse real interest… Faced with these new products, many people are wondering. But what is so special about them? And how to choose a good and genuine Japanese knife? One of the specificities of the traditional Japanese knife is that it is entirely forged by hand, by a qualified blacksmith as in the days of the samurai. This results in a blade that is much more resistant than a traditional knife. Indeed, the hand-forged steel is much denser and therefore a more powerful knife overall (see also article on Damascus blades)

What are the different types of Japanese knives?

There are many shapes, styles and brands of Japanese knives, each with its own particularities and its own use in the kitchen, the bevel of the blade being generally on one side only. Here are the most common shapes of Japanese knives you can find on the market:

1) The Santoku knife

The term Santoku literally means “three good things”, which could be translated as slicing, chopping or mincing. The Santoku knife is an all-purpose Japanese knife, with a slightly curved blade that gives a very pleasant rocking effect. It will allow you to chop your herbs with precision and to mince your fruits and vegetables into small cubes. Indispensable and indispensable in your kitchen, whether you are a professional or an amateur, it will accompany you in the preparation of all your recipes.

Santoku : japanese knife

The 3 best-selling Santoku:

Kasumi Damas couteau Santoku 18cm Messer - 84018 - Santoku Kochmesser - 18cm
  • Garantie: 1 an
  • Contenu du packaging: 1
  • Mati√®re: Acier VG10 √† 1 % de carbone et...
  • Manche en bois de cerisier lamin√©, teint√© puis...
  • Gamme Kasumi Standard: Kasumi Standard a une lame...
Kasumi Titanium KTB2 Couteau Santoku 18 cm Bleu
  • Garantie¬†: 7 ans
  • Rev√™tement bleu
  • Taille: 18 cm
  • Titanium Couteau Santoku
  • Le couteau aux trois vertus: l√©gumes, poissons et...
Kasumi TORA KTR07 Veritable Couteau Japonais Santoku 16,5 cm
  • Le Santoku est le couteau que tout cuisinier se...
  • Sa polyvalence permet de travailler viandes,...
  • Acier: Daido 1K6 0,6% de carbone +...
  • Manche: magnolia noir montage sans clavette
  • Aiguisage: ambidextre en V

2) The Deba knife

It is in Sakai that the Debahocho would have been invented around 1700. This region is rich in fish and in particular in pink sea bream, a flat fish with a large number of bones which required a wide, short and solid knife. Little known in France, it deserves more attention from fishmongers.

Deba : japanese knife

Top 3 best-selling Deba knives :

Seki Japan TSUBAZO Japanese Sushi Chef Knife, Stainless Steel Sashimi Deba Knife, Shiraki Handle, 150 mm (5.9 in)
  • Ce couteau de cuisine √† bord unique est...
  • Pour la cuisson des poissons, ce couteau vous...
  • Lorsque les personnes ont besoin d'un couteau pour...
  • Longueur de la lame : 150 mm - Lame : acier...
  • La soci√©t√© Seki est connue pour son industrie de...

3) The Sashimi / Yanagiba knife

The sushi knife, known in our country as the “sashimi knife”, is a long knife with a single-sided sharpening, it is also characterised by a rigid and non-flexible blade, which allows it to remove the skin of the fish with ease without wasting raw material. The rigidity of the blade also allows it to cut sushi with such precision that each bite is identical to the next.

Yanagiba : Japanese Sashimi knife

The most popular sashimi knives:

Kasumi TORA KTR10 Sashimi 27 cm
  • Le Sashimi est le couteau de pr√©dilection des...
  • Permettant une d√©coupe chirurgicale sur les...
  • Acier: Daido 1K6 0,6% de carbone +...
  • Manche: magnolia noir montage sans clavette
  • Aiguisage: biseaut√© droit

4) The Gyuto knife

The Gyuto knife, literally “beef knife”, is the Japanese chef’s knife par excellence. Its blade is flatter than a Western chef’s knife and is known for its precision due to the geometric angle of its blade. A Western knife generally has an edge angle of around 20-22¬į, while a Gyuto knife blade has a sharper edge angle of around 15-18¬į. These Japanese knives are mainly used for cutting meat, especially for slicing large pieces of meat.

Gyuto : japanese knife

The most popular Gyuto knives:

KOTAI | Couteau de Chef Gyuto | Couteau de Chef Professionnel | √Čquivalent √† Couteau de Chef Japonais | Lame 20 cm | Martel√© et Aiguis√© √† la Main | Acier Inoxydable Japonais 440C Ultra-Tranchant
  • ULTRA TRANCHANT : Lame en acier inoxydable...
  • FINITION MARTEL√ČE : Appel√© ‚ÄúTsuchime‚ÄĚ en...
  • CONFORT & PR√ČCISION : Son profil de lame -...
  • DURABLE & HYGI√ČNIQUE : Le pakkawood est un bois...
  • FACILE √Ä ENTRETENIR : Lame forg√©e d‚Äôun alliage...

5) The Nakiri/Usuba knife

Nakiri bocho (knife for cutting greens) and Usuba bocho (thin-bladed knife) are knives used only for the preparation of vegetables. Often confused with its big brother, the Usuba is very popular with Japanese chefs. Suitable for cutting on a chopping board, these knives are much thinner than the Deba which has a heavier blade. It has a rectangular shape with a high, wide blade, which makes it perfect for cutting vegetables or herbs. In addition, because of its flat shape, you can also use it to move the cut food into another container like a shovel. Its length is between 14 and 18cm.

Nakiri : japanese knife

The best-selling Nakiri knives:

Kasumi Kuro Couteau japonais Nakiri 16,5 cm gris/rouge
  • Couteau Naikiri lame 16,5 cm, forme typique...
  • Acier 0.8% de carbone - Damas martel√© 32 couches
  • Manche en bois lamin√©
  • Aiguisage ambidextre
  • Coloris : Gris / rouge - Livr√© dans un coffret...
Kasumi Kuro Couteau japonais Nakiri 16,5 cm gris/noir
  • Couteau Naikiri lame 16,5 cm, forme typique...
  • Acier 0.8% de carbone - Damas martel√© 32 couches
  • Manche en bois lamin√©
  • Aiguisage ambidextre
  • Coloris : Gris / noir - Livr√© dans un coffret...
Kasumi KURO Nakiri 16,5 cm
  • Damas 32 couches
  • Martelage haute fr√©quence pour d√©coller les...
  • Manche bois octogonal √† la japonaise
  • Couteau made in Seki, Japan
  • Coffret cadeau

6) The Honesuki knife

The Honesuki knife or boning knife differs from the western boning knife in its triangular shape and rigidity. Perfect for boning poultry thanks to its asymmetrical edge, it is however possible to find it with two sharpened edges. Rarer, but just as effective, is the Garasuki knife, also a specialist in boning, with the difference that it combines boning and carving knives thanks to a sharper angle.

Honesuki : japanese knife

Top 3 selling Honesuki knives :

DALSTRONG - Honesuki Knife - Ronin Series - 5.5" Single Bevel Blade - Poultry Boning Knife - Japanese AUS-10V Damascus - Red Rosewood Handle - w/Sheath
  • Le couteau Honesuki ultime: Une r√©volution...
  • Performance in√©gal√©e: Le scalpel √† simple...
  • Dalstrong Power: Une pi√®ce solide ultra pointue...
  • La poign√©e traditionnelle en forme d'octogone est...
  • D√©couvrez pourquoi des milliers de chefs...

7) The Sujihiki knife

This is the Japanese carving knife, also known as a slicing knife. They are used for cutting large pieces of meat, such as roasts, but their use is not limited to that. Its long, smooth blade allows it to slice any meat or fish in a single pass with great ease of use.

Sujihiki : japanese knife

The most popular Sujihiki knives:

YOUSUNLONG Couteau Sakimaru 430mm Ultimate Yanagiba Knife Sujihiki Knife Convient pour couper de gros saumons de thon Maguro - Manche en noyer naturel avec étui en cuir Coffret cadeau
  • „ÄźL√©g√®re flexibilit√©„ÄĎ Un couteau de coupe de...
  • „ÄźHaute qualit√© et nettet√©„ÄĎUn couperet √†...
  • „ÄźProtection antiadh√©sive et anticorrosion„ÄĎ Le...
  • „ÄźConfort„ÄĎ[Komfort] Der Griff 430 hat eine...
  • „ÄźCadeau parfait„ÄĎ Le couteau de cuisine Damas...
DALSTRONG Chef & Sujihiki Hybrid Slicing Knife & Slicer - 12" - Gladiator Series - Meat & Fish Slicing Master - "The Kitchen Gladius" - German HC Steel - w/Sheath - NSF Certified
  • Outstanding craftsmanship, cutting-edge...
  • Incredibly razor sharp, full-tang, imported...
  • Award winning design, with satisfying heft,...
  • Engineered to perfection at 56+ Rockwell hardness...
  • See why thousands of professional chefs and home...
TUO Couteau à Trancher Couteau à émincer 30.5cm Couteau à Découper Couteau Sujihiki Allemand Acier Inoxydable Couteaux de Cuisine-Fiery Phoenix Series
  • ‚Äć Couteau √† Trancher Multifonctionnel: Le...
  • Lame Tranchante Comme un Rasoir : la lame est...
  • Mat√©riau Dur et Durable : fabriqu√© de mani√®re...
  • Garantie √† vie TUO : nous offrons une...

8) Other special Japanese knives :

There are a large number of Japanese knives, some of which are used for a single specific task. Among the wide choice available, we can mention the Ajikiri knife, a small knife dedicated to cutting small fish. Or the Fugu hiki, as its name suggests, this Japanese knife is used for lifting and cutting Fugu fillets, a very popular fish in Japan, which can be toxic for humans if not prepared properly. The Unagi saki bocho is mainly used for lifting eel fillets, and its very precise tip allows you to open an eel along its entire length without any problem. Finally, we will finish with the Pan kiri bocho, which is simply a bread knife, renowned worldwide for its sharpness. Whatever type of knife you choose, here is an article to help you know what budget to choose for your Japanese knife. What if I’m left-handed?

Unagi: Japanese knife for preparing eels

Example of an eel knife (Unagi):

This is the end of this presentation of the different Japanese knives, even if the list is not exhaustive. I will add other models as we go along. If you liked this article, don’t hesitate to share it ! Thank you for sharing!