The Shobu, also known as the Yanagiba, is the single bevel traditional Japanese slicer, more common in Osaka and Kyoto. The Takohiki is a slicer regional to Tokyo.
Ideal for: Slicing. Useful on food types: Slicing fish fillets, sushi & sashimi, turkey, roast beef, squid, octopus, other seafood
Shobu, Yanagiba, & Takohiki Background
Shobu or Yanagiba literally means Iris Leaf. These knives are popular in Western Japan, primarily around the Osaka and Kyoto areas. The shape is a slim blade which looks like a Katana (sword), suitable for slicing tasks. The style of knife is well known as a great sashimi knife, with a single bevel edge good for cutting and filleting fish. Its pointed and easy to use, it is possible to cut beautiful sashimi just by pulling in a single motion without moving the kitchen knife back and forth.
Takohiki is another sashimi kitchen knife unique to the Tokyo region of Japan. The tips are blunt and square in shape, which helps the chef carefully scoop the slices of sashimi onto a plate. Tako means octopus, hiki means pull. As with Shobu, this sashimi knife is pulled in order to cut using the blade length. By pulling the knife allowing the edge to slice the tissue of sashimi will not collapse. This allows for the cut to be clean and consistent.
According to the legend, Takohiki was a square-shaped tipped sushi maker in the Edo period, who was reprimanded for pointing the tip of a knife towards the customer. Interestingly, the tradition of not directing sharp cutting knives to customers still remains, and Takohiki is still favored in Tokyo.
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.