How to choose a Japanese knife when you are left-handed?

Japan is a master in the art of sharpening blades thanks to its knife-making expertise and the exceptional quality of the materials used.
It is all well and good to make high quality utensils if not everyone can use them. Many types of knives exist, today let’s take a look at knives for left-handed people.

Are there Japanese knives for left-handed people?

The utensils are designed for the majority of society: right-handed people.
Fortunately it is possible to find a version of Japanese knife for left-handed people!

Why differentiate between right-handed and left-handed Japanese knives?

The specificities of the blades


There are two types of blades: asymmetrical blades, which means that the blade is sharpened on one side only. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the left-handed person has symmetrical blades, which are bevelled on both sides.

Each blade has its own edge!

Japanese culture is fascinating and places great importance on respect. Japanese cuisine is no exception to this tradition: in the restaurant, respect extends to the way plates are presented and dishes are prepared.

The « one side » knife

In most cases, the « one side » knife is left-handed: therefore suitable for right-handed people. If you are left-handed, you will have to make sure that the blade is sharpened on the left side.

A « one side » knife will be sharper than a knife with a symmetrical blade. It will therefore damage the products less as their fibres will be spread out, thus giving a more precise visual. The unsharpened side of the blade prevents the cut food from sticking to the knife and damaging the cut pieces. The food will also retain its taste better. The Japanese cook will therefore take care in the preparation of his dishes as a sign of respect for the person who will taste them.

Knives sharpened on both sides

You have probably already noticed that some knives do not cut straight. A right-handed person will change the trajectory of the « one-sided » knife with a firm grip, which a left-handed person will have difficulty doing if the knife is sharpened on both sides.
The right-handed person can hardly see the advantage of a knife bevelled on both sides, but the left-handed person understands: the knife with symmetrical blades allows you to cut straight.
If you are unskilled, if you don’t have the « knack » for knives, a blade bevelled on both sides may break the fibres of the food, it will cut less precisely, and may therefore damage the product.
A knife should therefore not be sharpened on the opposite side to your dominant hand, but on the same side:

for right-handed people, the knife will be bevelled on the right side, for left-handed people, it will be on the left side.

A suitable handle

The most suitable handle is the D-shaped handle with a rounded lower part to obtain maximum comfort in the palm of the hand and to handle the tool as easily as possible.

Smooth blades

Perfect for meat, vegetables or fruit, this knife will give you a clean cut without snagging.
This is the famous Japanese santoku knife, the indispensable all-purpose knife
that will suffice on its own! You will need to make sure that you take a knife with a right-hand blade.


The Yanagiba or SASHIMI, perfect for sashimi. It is especially used for very precise and fine cuts, such as carpaccios or slices of raw fish.


Example of Yanagiba for left-handers:


The DEBAwhich is a Japanese knife used to lift fish fillets thanks to its great precision. In addition to its sharpness, the weight of its blade makes it possible to remove « waste » from products such as the head of the fish, or even to break the joints of a bird with ease.

Example of Deba for left-handers:


The NAKIRI is ideally used for cutting vegetables thanks to its ambidextrous blade which allows easy cutting of products. It has a very angular blade. It will be very popular with those who want to make good home-made meals: for a balanced diet, it is the ideal ally for cutting vegetables!


The USUBA is used for cutting vegetables into thin strips and for chopping food. It is easily distinguished by its rectangular, axe-like blade.

The serrated blades

This toothed knife is also called a serrated knife. It facilitates the cutting of hard items, such as crusts, bread, pastries, buns, cakes and pies….


Japanese knife with serrated blades: the pankiri

Honeycombed blades

This is also known as a fluted blade knife. This blade prevents the food from getting stuck to the tool when cutting. These knives are used to obtain thin slices, and are mainly found on santoku


To choose a Japanese knife for left-handed people, you must pay attention to the side of the blade [it must be on the right].

Another type of blade: damascus blades.

Which Japanese knife to choose to be sure of cutting when you are left-handed?

In manga, Japanese cooks are often depicted with a sharp knife in each hand cutting and chopping food effortlessly.

Knives with a bevelled blade on each side can be used by both left and right-handed people, but the best knives are those sharpened on one side only: they are suitable for left-handed people as long as the blade is sharpened on the right side and can be used to the full in their speciality, as each knife has its own purpose!