When it comes to culinary tools, Japanese knives are the gold standard. Learn more about the rich history and modern applications of Japanese Petty knives to pick the perfect one for your kitchen.
Japanese Petty Knives: The Utility Knife
Written in Japanese as ぺティ (ぺてぃ), the Petty knife is an all-application knife.
This western-style Japanese kitchen knife is ideal for mincing, dicing, slicing, and trimming chicken, fish, herbs, vegetables, and small fruits.
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The History of The Petty Knife
Petty knives put a Japanese spin on western-style utility knives. This versatile, all-purpose knife is larger than the average western paring knife but smaller than both a western chef’s knife and a Japanese Gyuto knife.
Along with the Gyuto knife, the Petty knife originated in the late 19th century during the Meiji period. During this open trade era, Japanese chefs became fascinated with the functions of French and German-style knives. Unlike the flat Japanese knives that had become tradition, European-style knives featured pointed tips and a double bevel.
While Japanese chefs honored the traditions of this utility knife, they did adjust the design to better suit the subtleties of Japanese cooking. They borrowed the name from the word ‘petit,’ meaning ‘little’ in French. However, the Japanese rendition is crafted with more length, ranging from 120mm (4.7") and 150mm (5.9") where the paring knife is 80mm (3.2")
The Petty knife is also sometimes referred to as a Japanese paring knife or a Japanese utility knife.
Ideal Uses for The Petty Knife
The Petty knife is best applied toward smaller preparation tasks such as slicing or dicing vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The knife is also popular among Western and Eastern chefs for light butchery work that requires a greater deal of precision.
Trimming meat, filleting small fish, and performing precise chopping techniques such as brunoise cuts are all jobs for a Petty knife.
Adherence to tradition is what makes Japanese cutlery superior. To this day, Japanese blacksmiths forge Petty knives by hand in famous cities such as Sakai, Seki, and Echizen.
Though there are two traditions of craftsmanship (Honyaki and Kasumi), all Japanese Petty knives are made with high carbon steel or high carbon stainless-steel.
Honyaki knives are the most sought after but also the most expensive. The method of creating a Honyaki Petty knife resembles that of sword-making. Since Honyaki-style knives are entirely high carbon steel, they are challenging to maintain and recommended for professionals.
Kasumi knives join high carbon steel with soft iron to create a laminate blade. The added soft iron reduces the risk of chipping and allows for easier upkeep. If you’re searching for a Japanese Petty knife for your home kitchen, Kasumi is recommended.
Upgrade Your Knife Collection
With a double bevel blade and razor-sharp edge, Japanese Petty knives offer a standard of precision unrivaled by western knives. Hasu-Seizo has a diverse collection of Petty knives. Upgrade your knife collection with an elegant utility knife today!
Setsuko, Owner, Modern Japanese Restaurant, Seattle
I have used Sakai Takayuki knives for over 5 years and through all that time the blades are incredibly durable and comfortable to use. Repetitive cutting motions are easy and do not tire your hand out.