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KATABA Japanese Knife Shop & The Knife Shed

How To Choose


Yanagiba, Yanagi

(or Shobu)


Kansai style sashimi slicer. It is used to slice boneless fish fillets into sashimi and sushi toppings. The thin blade cuts the fish into beautiful, neat slices. The blade is long to cut down the fish in one long stroke.



Kanto style sashimi slicer. Takohiki also cuts long, straight slices with the long blade. The thin body especially makes cutting slices of sashimi easy.



Japanese raw fish carver. It is designed to behead and filet fish. The thickness and often a more obtuse angle on the back of the heel allow it cut off the heads of fish cleanly. The rest of the blade is used to scrape against the fish bones, separating the meat away. The Deba is also used to cut meat.

Edo Usuba


Traditional Japanese vegetable knife. Usuba literally means” thin blade” indicating its relative thinness compared to the other knives, great for cutting through firm vegetables without cracking them. The Kanto style has a square blunt tip.

Kamagata Usuba


Kamagata knives are traditionally from the Kansai area and this style variation has a spine that curves downwards at the tip, allowing the usuba to do fine, delicate work such as “katuramuki” which is shaving a cylindrical vegetable into a thin sheet.




It is used especially for cutting Usuzukuri /thin sliced sashimi , much like the Yanagi knife. The back of the knife is thinner and the width is slightly more narrow than the Yanagi.


(Chef’s knife)


The Gyuto is a multi-purpose chef’s knife, that originates from Europe. It has a double-beveled edged blade making it a versatile knife that is good for cutting meats, vegetables, small fish and slicing through raw fish . The blade of the Gyuto is thinner and has more acute bevel angle and therefore a sharper edge than chef’s knives from other countries.


(Boning knife)


It is a poultry boning knife. Because you need to move this knife among bones, the blade of the knife is thick in comparison with the Gyuto. However it will not cut through the bones.


(Slicing knife)


It is used to slice boneless meat and fish fillets. The blade is thin for a slicing knife making it an easy to use tool.


(A general purpose knife)


It is used for chopping, dicing and slicing meat, fruits and vegetables. The knife is designed to be well balanced and is a perfect knife for using at home.



The main materials used in the blade are carbon steel or stainless steel.

Carbon Steel Knives

Japanese carbon steel is derived from iron sand which is also used in making Katana (Japanese swords) making for knives that are generally easier to sharpen than stainless steel knives. The most important merit of carbon steel is the sharpness holds for longer than stainless steel, however carbon steel is more susceptible to rust if not cared for properly. Yasuki carbon steel is produced by Hitachi Metals Ltd and is now the main material in Japanese knife manufacturing and has several grades depending on the percentage of impurities, the two main grades of being Shirogami and Aogami.

Shirogami Steel

(White steel)

Purest Carbon Steel with Few Impurities Shirogmi steel creates the sharpest blade.

Aogami Steel

(Blue steel)

White Steel Mixed with Chrome and Tungsten. The mixture improves usability while the carbon helps it to stay hard and sharp.

Yasuki Steel


The rating of Yasuki Steel goes from 1 - 3.
Shirogami 1 - 3
Shirogami 1 is the hardest and shirogami 3 contains more impurities.
Shirogami 2 is usually the most suitable for knife manufacture. Forging Shirogami1 is very difficult and requires very high skill to make. Blacksmiths do not depend on temperature sensors but use their own instincts and experience to work on heat treatments.
Shirogami1 is the hardest steel and has a super sharp edge, however it is easy to chip. 
Aogami 1 - Aogami 2 & Aogami Super
Additional chrome and tungsten are added to Shirogami 2, The resulting material is called Aogami. Depend on the amount of carbon contained, Aogami is classified as Aogami 1 - Aogami Super. Aogami tends to stay hard for a long time, however it is difficult to sharpen.

Stainless Steel Knives

Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, so it easy to maintain. In general stainless knives usually become duller more easily than carbon steel knives, however high grade stainless knives are extremely sharp with excellent edge retention equal to that of carbon steel.

Molybdenum Vanadium (Aus 8)

It is one of the more modern high quality stainless steels. The knives are extremely hard and sharp, as well as having strong corrosion resistance.


VG-10 is a special steel made for cutlery in Japan and contains Chromium, Vanadium, Molybdenum and Cobalt. It is considered a “Super Steel” as it has very good resistance, sharpness and durability.


Ginsan is made from silver-3 steel, The strong rust-resistant steel core is enclosed in soft iron jacket to which chromium has been added. Ginsan combines traditional Japanese knife making methods with new metallurgical technologies for a metal that is easy to maintain and keeps excellent sharpness.


Damascus knives are also called “Suminagashi”. These knives are created by repeatedly folding soft iron into carbon steel before forging and hammering .The layered steel creates a unique and beautiful appearance for each knife.




Honyaki knives are made from one single high-carbon steel such as blue or white steel. The same method is used in making Katana which are very difficult to forge and require a high level of skill and experience and because of this reason Honyaki knives are expensive in general. Honyaki stay hard and sharp for a long time, however sharpening and maintaining the knife is difficult and for that reason we recommended Honyaki knives to experienced, professional chefs.


Much like Katana, Kasumi knives are made of two materials: high carbon steel, such as blue or white, and soft iron forged together. The soft iron becomes the supportive spine of the blade whilst the high carbon steel forms the sharp edge. Kasumi knives are stronger, more flexible and easier to maintain than Honyaki knives.

How to Measure


Study of Knife