In my post on Japanese Knife Styles, I covered the different knife styles used by Japanese knife manufacturers, from “deba” to “nakiri.” There are also a lot of differences between the Japanese knife manufacturers that we carry here at MetroKitchen. In this blog, I’ll point out the benefits of some Japanese knives as well as list the manufacturers that exhibit these benefits.
The knives from manufacturers like Kyocera, Miyabi, Shun, Global, and Bunmei vary in function and appearance. However, the high-quality Japanese brands each rival the great cutlery by German manufacturers like Henckels and Wusthof. Many Japanese innovations improve upon knife sharpness, edge life, and ease of sharpening. Each brand exhibits different benefits, so read on below to see which brand is right for you!
Japanese Knives have Sharp Edges:
This category applies to all of the Japanese knife brands. Sharper edges are a hallmark of Japanese knives. Anyone who’s tried a Japanese knife knows that they’re razor-sharp sharpening their knives to angles that are much sharper than traditional western cutlery. The exact angle depends on each brand, but generally these manufacturers are able to make knives with sharper edges because they experiment with harder materials like super-hard steel and ceramic as well as differently-shaped edges.
For example, Shun knives are noticeably sharp because they use very hard steel for the blades and the edges on their knives are very smooth and polished. Their knives glide right through food as you’re slicing it. Kyocera, on the other hand, uses super-hard ceramic for their knives, so they’re able to make them extremely sharp without having to worry about the knives getting dull quickly.
Knives that stay sharp longer:
Shun, Kyocera, Tamahagane, and Miyabi Kaizen knives all have notably exceptional edge life. These manufacturers are able to create razor-sharp knives that keep their edges for longer because they use harder materials than many other manufacturers. A super-hard steel or ceramic blade can be extremely sharp and it will stay sharp for longer because the blade material won’t bend easily. The downside of using a harder steel is that those alloys are often more susceptible to rust and corrosion. However, manufacturers experiment with different methods to solve this problem. Kyocera, for example, combats this problem by foregoing steel altogether and making their knives from a hard ceramic material. Ceramic has many other advantages as well, including being a substance that won’t react with food and leave a metallic taste.
Knives made for better, easier sharpening:
Single-bevel knives from Bunmei, Global, and Masahiro are great because they’re both easy to sharpen and you can get a consistent edge every time you sharpen them. A single-bevel blade is flat on one side and beveled on the other, allowing you to lay the beveled side flat against the surface of a whetstone and sharpen the knife without holding it at a specific angle. The edge that you achieve when sharpening a knife like this is always the same degree and consistency. Many sushi chefs love single-bevel knives because they sharpen their knives daily. With a single-bevel knife, they can easily achieve the same razor-sharp edge day after day.