What Makes Japanese Kitchen Knives So Special?

The world over, kitchen knives Are used daily be nearly every household. They transcend cultures, cuisines and continents and are among the most striking universal symbols of cooking and food prep. Given that, one may expect a bit more diversity in the design of kitchen knives in various countries, but in fact the styling is often dominated by the French, German and British knife forgers. The west has strong metal, single piece steel knives that may be popular, but not necessarily like the traditional designs.However, there is one nation that has single handily produced a number of the most uniquely designed types of kitchen knives, which has evolved to suit their cuisine more correctly. Japan appears to be the only nation that has developed its own approach to designing kitchen knives, which can be largely themed around the need to slice raw fish finely and chop raw vegetables speedily.

Japinesh Knife

The best japanese kitchen knives, which is still seldom seen outside of Japan was designed to slice through raw fish or other sea life! So finely and without adhering to the blade, was created with a level of scalloping on it to stop the air-tight suction seal that is frequently found on knife surfaces which are entirely smooth.The Santoku knife, on the other hand, bears a bit more similarity to the Western chef’s knife, even though it too can have some scalloping on it. Where this knife – the santoku – disagrees, however, is the styling and finishing of the real knife edge itself. Rather than being rounded off at the tip to permit for a rounding knife cutting actions, it is virtually horizontal all along the edge of the blade. Whilst this makes it rather tricky to imitate western-style chopping actions in which the tip of the knife tends to remain on the chopping board, it is extremely well suited to this slightly different means of chopping in Japan.

The entire Santoku knife lifts horizontally off the chopping surface and comes back down, which provides an even chopping line along whatever has been cut.So, having established that the design makes these knives so unique, it is necessary to also think about the build quality and finesse which goes into forging the blades. Since the feudal ages – and likely beyond – Japan has been notorious for their swords. This tradition – yet it began – gave rise to a high number of blacksmiths forging blades and folding steel to make them as powerful as possible. Naturally, this initial tradition has subsided somewhat as we are in the age of enlightenment, but the background has stayed.