How To Use Your Japanese Knife

by Ryan Shaffer November 09, 2022 3 min read

How To Use Your Japanese Knife

Japanese knives were first made hundreds of years ago using ancient sword-smithing techniques passed on through generations of blacksmiths. Today, they're a favorite of both professional and beginner chefs around the world. With their beauty, expert craftsmanship, and durability, these striking knives are essential for anyone passionate about food preparation.

Before you purchase aJapanese knife, it's important to know what knife is used for what task. This will extend the longevity of your knives and simplify everything from chopping meat to mincing herbs.

Santoku knives

TheSantoku knife is widely known as a general-purpose chef's knife, as it's versatile and similar in appearance to a Western-style chef's knife. Originally designed for home use it has quickly been adopted in a variety of professional and home settings. Here are a few notable characteristics of aSantoku knife.

  •    Curved tip (also known as sheep’s foot due to the shape)
  •    Double bevels
  •    Thin blade

The thinness of the Santoku blade makes the knife very well-suited to easily cut thin slices. Additionally,Santoku knives offer great functionality and maneuverability, so they can be used for general cutting, dicing, and mincing.

When holding a Santoku knife, use your thumb and forefinger to lightly pinch the blade while having the rest of your fingers hold the handle. You can then cut using a drawing-back or forward sliding motion. The push and pull slicing techniques are effective and easier on your blade, though you can rock the knife gently when mincing herbs. Just avoid aggressive downward chopping that could dull the edge of the knife.

Nakiri knives

ANakiri knife is a Japanese vegetable knife. The knife has a few qualities that set it

apart from other knives.

  •    Double bevel
  •    Rectangular shape
  •    Blunt nose

Nakiri knives are excellent for cutting all different kinds of vegetables, whether you're chopping, mincing, slicing, or dicing them. ANakiri knife can also be used to cut fruits. One feature that distinguishes the Nakiri from the Santoku is that you can use an up-and-down motion while using it, rather than the rocking or sliding technique. That said, similar to the Santoku, the thinness of the blade makes a push or pull slice extremely efficient.

Gyuto knives

Like theSantoku knife, theGyuto knife is similar to the Western chef's knife. Gyuto knives are versatile and can be identified by these characteristics:

  •    Curved blade
  •    Flat heel
  •    Pointed tip

You can use aGyuto knife to cut, chop, slice, and dice vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish. You can even use it to disjoint meat cuts. The Gyuto has a sharper tip that is normally more curved than the Santoku, making rock-cutting motions easier. You can use a variety of cutting techniques with the Gyuto, though you should avoid hard chopping and tough items like cartilage and bones.

Purchase handcraftedJapanese knives online

With Hasu-Seizo, you can purchase Japanese knives that transform the way you prepare your meals. Our handcrafted artisan knives from the Sakai Takayuki as well as other blacksmiths across Japan are created by master craftsmen.

Our full selection of Hasu-Seizo knives includes the knives mentioned above, along with several other types made with precision from high-quality steel.

As a family-owned and operated business, we're passionate about introducing people to the wonders of a finely craftedJapanese knife. If you have any questions about our knives or need assistance placing an order, please email hello@hasuseizo.com, call 1 (425) 273-5362, or complete our online form.

Also in Blog

Close-up photo of cherry blossoms and Japanese temple
The Traditional Craftsmanship of Japanese Kitchen Knives

by Ryan Shaffer September 14, 2023 4 min read

Japanese cooking knives have the reputation of being some of the best in the industry, and if you’ve ever wondered why, you’ve come to the right place. For starters, Japanese knife making is a fine art mastered only by a handful of individuals, and this is because the knives are made to exact and high standards.
Read More
Hands sharpening a Japanese knife on a whetstone
How to Sharpen Japanese Knives

by Ryan Shaffer September 07, 2023 5 min read

If you’ve already purchased a nice set of Japanese chef knives, you obviously consider quality to be something important. Maintaining sharp and pristine Japanese knives is essential to preserve their purpose and investment.
Read More
Hands Carving a Turkey With Knife and Carving Fork
The Seven-Faced Bird: How to Carve a Turkey Using Japanese Knives

by Ryan Shaffer August 31, 2023 5 min read

Few dishes rival the grandeur and significance of a turkey. Symbolizing abundance, gratitude, and togetherness, it’s the centerpiece of every festive dining table.
But while a beautifully-roasted turkey is a sight to behold, its true sumptuousness is unlocked when carved with precision and skill.
Read More