Table of Contents
- 1 Introducing Best Japanese Chef Knife in the World
- 2 Is Use of Honing Steel/Sharpening Steel with Japanese Knives Forbidden?
- 3 Different Parts of Japanese Knife
- 4 Japanese Handmade Traditional Knife Making Process
- 5 Difference Between Japanese Knives and German Knives
- 6 Different Types of Japanese Knives
- 7 Why Does Japan Make The Best Knives in The World for Chef?
- 8 Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layers Hammered Damascus Gyuto 8.25 in Japanese Chefs Knife
- 9 Hiroshi Nakamoto 4 Piece Sushi & Sashimi Chef Knife Set
- 10 Shun 8-Inch Premier Chef’s Knife
- 11 Conclusion
Introducing Best Japanese Chef Knife in the World
Japanese Knives tend to use best steel in the world that has a lot higher carbon content. Because of that carbon content the knives tend to be a lot harder. As they are harder you are capable of holding more acute angles and the edges are capable of holding that way for a longer period of time. But they also end up being a little bit more fragile. So they require a little bit more skill and finesse while using them.
Japanese chef knives are the finest hand forged blades in the world. They are perfectly forged, perfectly heat treated with high quality grinding. Japanese knives compared to German knives are lighter because the blades are thinner. This helps the blade glide through foods and make precise cuts.
Japanese chef knives that have much higher carbon content or much higher hardness or have other kinds of characteristics that require a little bit more finesse and care and skill and techniques in use.
You have to know the tips for taking care of Japanese knives. These tips will help you keep your neck sharp and lasting for a long time. Many chefs’ express their positive opinion about Japanese Knives. The steel is so much better and knife performed more precisely and lasted longer.
Is Use of Honing Steel/Sharpening Steel with Japanese Knives Forbidden?
Let’s discuss about the use of sharpening steels and honing rods with Japanese knives. A lot of newcomers to Japanese knives will hear from other people that the use of honing steels or sharpening steels with your Japanese knives is just strictly forbidden. It’s not okay to use, but no one will ever take the time to explain why. We will explain why the sharpening steels don’t work well with Japanese knives. At first most important to understand how a sharpening steel functions and what its purpose really is. A lot of sharpening steels there is some that abrasive in them. But for them some part they are there not be abrasive but to realign an edge that’s come out of alignment. So as you use your knife over time, it’s hitting a lot of things. It’s hitting your cutting boards and food and whatever else it comes across and the knife come out of alignment. Now this is not always true and it’s true mostly for softer steel knives. The main reason people switch to Japanese knives is because they tend to be thinner and harder. Overall this gives you better cutting performance, less efforts and better edge retention.
What happened with Japanese knives is when they hit something hard instead of deforming or coming out of alignment little pieces just kind of chip off and you see a micro chipped edge or sometimes you see larger chips and when you go to the honing steel to try and realign this as your are trying to bend things back into place oftentimes what will happen is more piece will break off, because it doesn’t have the same kind of malleable nature or flexible nature that the softer steel has. So you end up with more micro chipped or even larger chips on your edge.
So it is recommended for harder steel knives and thinner knives you want to avoid the honing steel. And instead of using a honing steel to touch up your edge you can use methods like stropping or to have a finishing stone nearby that you can touch up your knife and if you’re diligent about touching up your knife anytime that it’s not feeling quite sharp. It does not really take that much effort to maintain it. Use other issue that we have with sharpening steels. As you are bending your knife back into place you are fatiguing the steel, so what happens is that as the steel is being bent, it gets a work hard and it gets fatigued and it does not hold up as well. The reason to use the stone is you are not bending stuff back into place, you are removing steel away and you are exposing a fresh edge.
So when you have the time try and use a finishing stone or sharpen your knife on Japanese water stones. It will give you the best edge that you are looking for with the best kind of edge retention and without causing damage to your knife.
Different Parts of Japanese Knife
We should know the different parts of Japanese knife. At a glance we see only the blade and the handle of a Japanese knife. There are different parts of the knife. But every parts a Japanese knife can be labeled in greater detail. A Japanese knife is made of different parts. The different parts are Ejiri or Butt, Handle, Choil, Ago or Heel, Hagane or Carbon Steel, Hasaki or Edge, Sor or Curve / Belly, Kissaki to Tip and Point, Shinogi, Se / Mine or Spine, Kakumaki or Collar / Ferulle etc. Detail parts of knife with picture given above for easy of understanding.
Japanese Handmade Traditional Knife Making Process
The way that traditional handmade knives are made in Japan is very different. In Japan the way it’s been done for centuries are that the different pieces of the process are done by different craftsman. First one of those would be the forging. The metal gets pounded on a trip hammer which is a large machine that has a heavy weight that comes down onto an anvil usually controlled in the case by a foot pedal. You control the speed with the foot pedal and they you pound out the blade into its shape. Then the steel is cooled and then you grind the shape to get it into your sort of final shape of your knife. Then the knife is tempered and will dip it in the mud and super heat it and then cool it very fast in cold water. And then warm it slowly. After that serves to harden the steel up till the point the steel is very soft and easily workable. Once steel is tempered it’s tempered and hardened.
When you buy a Japanese knife, you are not buying something that manufactured by machines and perhaps quality checked at the end of the line by one human being. But you are buying a knife that has been through the hands of no fewer than six people who are masters at what they do and what they manufacture and that they have made sure that the product that you are receiving is of the top quality.
Difference Between Japanese Knives and German Knives
What is the difference between Japanese Knives and German Knives? First and probably biggest thing is the steel type. Japanese Knives tend to use steel that has a lot higher carbon content. The second thing that makes Japanese knives different from their western counterpart is the geometry of the knife. The Japanese knives tend to be a lot thinner overall the German counterparts. Since you can imagine a knife that is thin this will move through food a lot more easily than a knife a little bit thicker. So that the geometry kind of goes hand in hand with the steel type that they choose to use for these Japanese Knives making them perform differently from what you’ll see with German knives. The Japanese knives are more of a finesse oriented kind of thing. They move through food easily with a lot less resistance. The edges last a lot longer. They take better edges and they are capable of holding more acute angles.
Different Types of Japanese Knives
There are different types of Japanese knives available in market. They are: Deba bocho – Kitchen cleaver for fish, Usuba bocho – Used as vegetable knife, Nakiri bocho – Knife used for cutting greens, Unagisaki Hocho – Knife used for filleting eel, Yanagi ba bocho – Willow blade knife, Ajikiri – Used for cutting small fish, Kaisaki – Shellfish paring knife, Ushikiri – Sushi slicer, Takohiki – Seafood puller, Udon Kiri – Knife to make Soba or Udon noodles.
- Deba bocho – Kitchen cleaver for fish
- Usuba bocho – Vegetable knife
- Nakiri bocho – Knife for cutting greens
- Unagisaki Hocho – knife for filleting eel
- Yanagi ba bocho – Willow blade knife
- Ajikiri – for cutting small fish
- Kaisaki – Shellfish paring knife
- Sushikiri – Sushi slicer
- Takohiki – Seafood puller
- Udon Kiri – Knife to make Soba or Udon noodles.
Why Does Japan Make The Best Knives in The World for Chef?
Japanese knives are the best knives in the world because Japanese knife can only be made by a human. Basically it’s a combination of steel and craftsmanship. If you understand the process involved in what goes into making a good Japanese knife. Making a good knife you need very good materials. You need very hard steel for putting an edge on. We know carbon steel is super hard but brittle. So if you combine it with the wrought iron and wrought iron will add strength to it and the knife is actually a lot easier forging and forming and sharpening if you have it like this. There are few of the steps that go through the process.
Japanese knives manufacturing process can be split into three major parts. First the piece of Japanese steel is heated, hammered and forged into the shape of a blade. Next, a soil coating is applied onto the steel. Finally the coated sword is heated, then quickly cooled, hardening the steel. In each knife, softness and hardness are perfectly balanced.
Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layers Hammered Damascus Gyuto 8.25 in Japanese Chefs Knife
Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layers Hammered Damascus Gyuto 8.25” (eight point two five inch) Japanese Chefs Knife is the most versatile and essential knife. This knife with 3 layer construction with a VG-100 steel. The Damascus layering is in the clad steel and it’s very elegant but also reinforces the strength of the steel. The blade thickness does not exceed two millimeters making it very thin and sharp blade. The handle is made out of premium Mahogany wood with a full tang. It is very comfortable to use for and well balanced. Yoshihiro chef knife with Mahogany composite wood handle is beautiful, sharp and long lasting edge retention knife.
Hiroshi Nakamoto 4 Piece Sushi & Sashimi Chef Knife Set
Hiroshi Nakamoto 4 Piece Sushi & Sashimi Chef Knife Set is the best Japanese chef knife in the world. This Japanese chef knife with ultra light beechwood wooden handle looks very nice, lightweight and professional. Ultra light beech wood handle can travel and be sued without fatigue. You will get these knives with pretty good price comparing giving the quality. These sharp knives called Sushi and Sashimi knives can be used for anything. The very little knife of the set 4.5 inch blade Petty would be perfect for paring like a paring knife to cut veggies or peel them. You will get cleaver type knife 7 inch blade Nakiri with the set would be perfect for chopping like chicken you want to chop with bone. Also can be cut larger piece of meat, big heads of cabbage etc. You can use this knife set for a longer time if regular sharpening them. Regular maintenance will provide you excellent performance to your kitchen tasks.
This four (04) piece chef knife set by Hiroshi Nakamoto includes eight inch, seven inch, and six point five inch and four point five inch knives. Eight inch (08”) blade Gyutou is chef’s knife included with the knife set. You will get seven inch (07”) blade Nakiri which is perfect for vegetable chopping. The six point five inch (06.5”) blade Santoku Deba can be used as a multipurpose knife. Then four point five inch (04.5”) blade petty is delicate work knife.
The steel is so hard that it enables the knives to keep o sharpness much longer than any other material. 3 layer structure is strong against getting rust and maintaining razor sharpness. Blade features a core of ultra hard high carbon and stain resistant steel.
Shun 8-Inch Premier Chef’s Knife
Shun Premier eight inch (08″) Chef’s Knife is a very beautiful knife for its’ beautiful Damascus finish on it on both sides. This is one of the top rated Japanese chef knives available in the market. Overall finish of the knife is fantastic. This Japanese chef knife from Shun is absolutely gorgeous and will certainly help out around the kitchen. At the end of the knife will give you lots of great balance. A super bolster will also give you great comfort hand balance. The main feature and main attraction of the knife is gorgeous blade. The blade is forged of 32 layers of high-carbon stain resistance super steel. They forged together here at hand-hammered finish (known as ‘Tsuchime’ in Japanese). That could also be found in Samurai swords and you will also notice this hammer detail at the top that’s allowing each slice of food to fall away from the blade as soon as slice. It also comes equipped with a very sharp 16-degree Japanese edge. Shun knife with Damascus cladding on the outside which helps protect this really thin high-quality cutting core and then it helps add corrosion resistance and reduce drag. The pakkawood handle going to add moisture resistance and durability to the handle. So it is very light weight, its nimble and it’s going to help reduce hand fatigue.
The care and maintenance of the Shun chef knife is going to be the same for any high quality knife that you invest in. So make sure that you very thoroughly drying the blade every single time. You will rinse it off use a paper towel to dry it off and then you may use a microfiber cloth or another towel that’s especially dry to get that last bit of water off because when water sits on the blade it starts reacting with the carbon and then you will get these little weak points and eventually it could chip. You definitely deserve the absolute best so treat yourself to this gorgeous knife from Shun.
To use top rated Japanese chef knives, you should have to know the kind of care and maintenance is involved and think about your skill levels. What works well for you, what problems you have or don’t have? Japanese knives that have much higher carbon content or much higher hardness or have other kinds of characteristics that require a little bit more finesse and care and skill and techniques in use.
Japanese knives crafted really well and they have a specific purpose for each and every knife. So select knife very carefully because it just depends on what you are doing at the time. But Japanese chef knives really enable you to execute on a really high level.