Japanese knives – Overview

Japanese knives are the best tool that can be in the kitchen. Each has a soul, which in combination with handmade works is combined into a real masterpiece. If knives are distinguished by nationality, the Japanese ones are considered the most unique because of their highest requirements.

At the same time, it is surprising that these works of art were generated by a country where they fully eat mainly fish, vegetables and rice. But the fact is that the Japanese are aesthetes in everything – each dish must retain its original taste, cut thinly and beautifully. And this can be achieved only with the help of a good and professional blade.


Varieties of Japanese knives

Japanese knive

There are many modifications, but we will talk about the most popular today. Some of them were transformed from katanas, knives for hunting and other popular tools in everyday life. Each knife has the prefix botyo, and in front of it there is another name.

  • Deba botyo is a knife designed for fish and meat. This is the oldest species. He can easily cope with small bones, but too large he can not afford. Knife work as a blade and butt. In this case, the tip is always sharper than the heel.
  • Ōkiri botō and Usuba botō. These are exclusively vegetable blades, quite thin. Their feature is a straight and narrow cutting edge, which cuts products with a simple lowering of the hand. In this case, the knife does not need to be pulled or pushed. They are always sharpened on both sides. The first are more suitable for the home, and the second – for professional activities.
  • Santoku botō. This blade is called multitasking. With its help, it is easy to chop, cut and crumble. A very wide blade in combination with a narrow handle fits perfectly in the palm of your hand. At the same time, the tool is well balanced and can perform almost all kitchen actions. The only thing is that they do not succumb to very large bones.
  • Sashimi botyo. This is a whole group of knives used in the manufacture of sashimi and seafood cutting.
  • Yanagi ba. They fille medium fish and cut sushi. The shape is different from all the others and is similar to a leaf of willow. Grinding is performed only on one side. A very sharp and thin blade can be from 20 to 35 cm.
  • Tacohikki. Special blade for cutting octopuses. Sharpening is one-sided and thin.
  • Fuguhiki. The most flexible and thin of all chef’s knives with a straight blade. The maximum length is 30 cm It is very sharp and it is he who is trusted to cut the poisonous puffer fish.
  • Oroshi botyo and Hancho botyo. These are flexible knives for cutting tuna and other large fish. The largest specimens of irrigation can reach up to 2 meters in length. Plus a handle that adds another 30 cm Hancho completely copies the irrigations, only twice as short.

Structural features

Japanese kitchen knives, like any other, have two main elements: a handle and a blade. Blades can have both double-sided sharpening (two symmetrical descents on both sides) and one-sided. The latter are specially sharpened under the hand of the cook, right or left. The classic blade of a Japanese knife is a hard core made of high-carbon steel, with linings of softer metal.

This process is also called lamination. This increases reliability, fracture strength, corrosion resistance and service life. The type of sharpening affects the number of linings – in a double-sided blade there are two, and in a one-sided one only from the side necessary for the cook.

The blade can fully continue into the handle or have a thin rod. Such products are more durable and resistant to all influences.


Steel for production

Steel for casting is used in several types. One of the most famous companies – Hitachi Metals, produces alloys marked depending on the color of the paper wrapped in the factories.

  • Shiro Gami (white paper). This is a metal of the highest class, from which the most expensive products are made. They use the purest steel, with a small number of impurities. The composition is only iron and carbon (from 1.1 to 1.4%). Such a compound guarantees ideal cutting properties, and small additives of manganese and silicon add greater strength.
  • Ki Gami (yellow paper). This type of steel is almost identical to the first, only carbon from 1 to 1.2%. These are unallowed high-carbon alloys that have no chromium in them. Such blades require more careful care, but they are the sharpest – their hardness according to Rockwell reaches 62 units. Blades can not be sharpened for a long time.
  • Ao Gami (blue paper). It is alloy steel that contains tungsten, chromium and sometimes vanadium. Blades are comfortable in everyday life, resistant to shocks and rust, and also durable. Slightly reduced cutting properties in comparison with reference knives.
  • Modern technologies for the production of high-quality steel gave rise to a product called ZDP 189. Thanks to the unique method of foundry production, their hardness increases to 67.5 units. At the same time, the metal is plastic and retains remarkable cutting properties. The blades can be polished to a mirror state.

The most famous manufacturers of Japanese knives

Knife manufacturers in Japan itself a lot. And almost as much outside the country. Many of them create their products for centuries. For example, the company Hiromoto exist for 8 centuries, Aritsugi – about 600 years. The Matsuri brand is blades made of 67 layers of Damascus steel, looking incredibly impressive. You can buy such a product in Moscow or abroad for 100-150 dollars.

Also look at the photos of blades from Samur, whose range is very large – from damascus to single-layer steel, for every taste and purse.


Global – high quality steel

One of the youngest companies, which released its first product in 1985, but according to centuries-old traditions. Each blade is made of CROMOVA 18 stainless steel, with additives.

Chromium and nickel protect blades from corrosion, and vanadium and molybdenum make them hard and durable. Therefore, they can not be sharpened for a long time. The maximum hardness of such a knife is 56-58 units.

The design of Global is purely Japanese and the knives are different from the usual samples. Intended for cutting vegetables with soft peel and seafood. But every year the company expands the line of its products, taking into account the needs of Europeans.

The handles are perfectly balanced and filled with sand inside. Therefore, such a blade is a natural extension of the limb and is fixed securely in wet and dry hands.


Kanetsugu – keepers of centuries-old traditions

Knives have been made for almost 700 years. Their main advantage is the processing of the blade with low temperatures up to -70 degrees. Lenticular sharpening is also used, in which the cutting edge becomes resistant to lateral loads. At the same time, the cut is smooth and perfect, and the blades themselves do not lose their properties for a long time.

These are very sharp professional knives, popular all over the world. The handles are made of plastic and wood. They are not afraid of water and do not slip. Metal handles are made with anti-slip relief.

Each Kanetsugu line differs in material composition. There are blades made of stainless steel alloy and molybdenum, copying the best Japanese katanas (Pro-M series). Or they are clamped with two layers of AUS-2 steel to increase the durability of the blade (Pro-J). The latter have a special texture called a “jagged pattern”. No food will stick during cutting. And the knife itself looks incredibly attractive.


Kasumi – unique blades

Such knives can not be confused with any other – on the blade there is an original Tsuchime finish, imitating the traces of a blacksmith’s hammer. A beautiful pattern of chaotic recesses and aesthetic value is also quite practical – recesses create an air cushion when working. At the same time, the cutting speed increases, and the products do not stick to the blade. Each knife consists of three layers of steel, and the central one is made of VG-10 brand.

Each line of Kasumi blades is unique. The Damascus series has a 32-layer lining of high-carbon stainless steel mixed with low metal during the forging process. Products made using this technology will be very durable, and they do not need to be sharpened.

And the Titanum series is a unique tool that combines the advantages of steel and ceramics. A layer of steel is dressed on both sides in a titanium coating, and the blade becomes very sharp and balanced.


Masahiro – the oldest knives in Japan

The main emphasis of the company was on blades for cutting meat, whose hardness reaches 60 units. Steel with molybdenum and vanadium additives is used and its development – the MBS-26 brand.

The blades are characterized by asymmetrical sharpening (at an angle of 15 degrees). You can not sharpen them yourself, you should contact professionals or use special water grinding stones.\

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