Japanesei knife guide

The Kamagata is a Japanese knife that evolved from the Gyutou knife after World War Ⅱ. This knife is popular for its versatility at cutting a wide variety of meat, vegetables and fruit.  The Kamagata knife has a blade 15cm to 18cm long and is commonly found in homes within Japan.


Gyutou is a European-style knife with a double-ground blade from 18cm to 22cm long.  A Gyutou knife is suitable for usingor cutting most types of vegetables, fruit, meat and small fish.  Due to its length, it also functions well at slicing raw fish (sashimi) at home.
‘Petit’ is French for ‘small’ which makes this knife ideal as a more agile companion to the larger Gyutou knife.  It is at its best manouevering in small places.  It excels at common kitchen tasks like removing the eyes of potatoes or stems of tomatoes and strawberries. The length of the petit knife blade is usually 7.5cm to 14cm long.
A bread knife is highly specialized and comes equipped with a serrated blade.  It is most suitable for cutting soft or crusty bread and sponge cake.
A salmon knife has oval shaped carvings on both sides of its long blade so that the salmon releases from the blade more easily when slicing.  Salmon knives are often seen on buffet tables as they are most suitable for slicing smoked salmon, roast beef and ham.
Frozen food is hard which makes it especially difficult to cut through even when partially thawed.  This specialty knife has teeth like those found on a carpentry saw and requires a back-and-forth motion to cut through frozen food.
This is a specialty knife for removing meat from the bone.  The blade is sharply angled to move smoothly along the bones.  It has a thick blade in comparison to Gyuto knives which makes it hard to chip.  Two shapes of blades – one angular and the other round – can be found.  The heft of the blade keeps it steady as you push through to remove the meat from the bone.  Western boning knives are narrower and lighter by comparison.
Designed to both divide large blocks of meat into pieces and cut away the tough sinews.  Sinews are not straight so the width of the blade is narrow in order to slide along the sinews easily.  The blade is relatively thin which restricts its use to slicing.  Its blade length ranges from 24cm to 33cm long.
This is knife is designed for cutting fish.  The blade is very thick at the back which gives it extra power to smoothly cut through fish bones.  In contrast, its blade edge is very thin and single-ground.  The thin blade gives the knife its precision but can also chip when used incorrectly – like chopping roughly.  The proper technique is to attach your hand to the back of the blade push it with a firm and smooth motion.  Deba blades are about 15cm in length making it capable of dealing with most fish with the knife.
Compared to the Japanese DEBA it has a thicker blade with a double-bevel edge.  It is best for carving up fowl, meat and fish.  It is strong enough to cut fish through the bone, break through large-sized shellfish like lobster, or even cut a frozen fish.  European Deba blades are about 21 to 27cm in length.


This is a narrow version of the Deba most noticeable is the thinness of the blade’s back.  It is light, and easy to use though not good cutting hard bone.  It is especially useful for filleting fish and comes with a blade ranging from 18 to 27cm long.
The wide bladed cleaver originated in China. It’s rectangular blade has a thick middle that tapers into a thin edge as one moved towards the bottom edge.  There are three basic thicknesses of cleavers and all retain the same basic shape.  Thin-blade cleavers are best for cutting vegetables for decoration or soft ingredients like meat. The second cleaver is an all-round performer. The thickest bladed cleaver is ideal for chopping hard ingredients like bones. All three blades range in length from 20 to 22cm.  Handles on Chinese cleavers are generally shorter than most knives.
The Nakiri knife is made for cutting vegetables with a blade that is both level and wide.  It is especially useful for peeling and cutting large vegetables such as cabbage or daikon. As with most Japanese knives the blade edge is single-bevelled although recently some makers started offering a double-ground edge for Western customers. Nakiri blades are commonly 15 to 17 cm long.  Two styles of Nakiri exist in Japan – a round shaped blade comes from Eastern Japan, whereas an angular shaped blade originates from the West side.
This has a similar shape to Nakiri with a single-ground edge knife.  Usuba blades are thin so it cuts very precisely.  With thinness comes the downside of the blade being easily damaged, so special care is needed when using this knife.  It is best to avoid cutting hard fruit or vegetables like pumpkin.  An 18 cm blade length is ideal for home cooks.

This is a Kansai (Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto) sashimi (raw fish) slicer.   It is named SHOBU, because the shape of the blade resembles the leaf of the iris – called Shobu in Japanese (it is also sometimes called Yanagi which means willow).  The blade is exceptionally sharp and long – making it easy slice cleanly through fish in a single stroke.  The blade length runs from 21 to 24cm in length.

This specialized sashimi slicer from Kanto (Tokyo) is called TAKOHIKI and is suited for slicing octopus- called Tako in Japanese.  Along with the SHOBU, Takohiki blades cut through fish in a straight, downward motion that uses the entire length of the blade.  This is the preferred method for slicing because if the fish is cut with a back and forth (sawing) motion, the cut surface won’t shine and the texture would be damaged.   The length of the Takohiki blade is identical to the SHOBU.
An exclusive kitchen knife which is used for precisely cutting the globefish into sashimi without releasing its poison. The back of the fugu blade is thick, the blade width narrow, and the point of the knife is angular.
This is a Japanese knife for cutting the small intestine of the cow.  The sharp tip easily slides into the small intestine, pulling the small intestine across the sharp blade with the hand and without moving the knife.
The paring knife is useful for cutting vegetable decorations and working in small spaces.
A sushi knife is used when cutting rolled or pressed sushi.  The double-ground blade has a wide blade that is rounded so it does not break the pressed rice when cutting.  The blade of a sushi knife is about 24 cm long.
Soba noodle knife Tomoe (Tomoe is a handle. It is not made of wood; the extended blade assumes the handle.)・single-ground edge
This is a knife to cut soba or noodle. You stand it vertically, and cut like pushing forward with using its weight. The shape of the long blade is unique. The blade is about 24cm-30cm long.
Soba noodle knife Kurouti
This is a knife to cut soba or noodle. It is thinner and lighter than tomoe・single edge one, and more, it is a double-ground edge blade. Therefore you can use it at home, and women also use it easily. The blade is about 21cm long.
Eel knife Nagoya style
The blade is slim and a rectangle. The corner was taken not to hurt an eel by the tip of this blade when you fillet it. The handle is relatively long.
Eel knife Kyoto style
The shape of the blade is like a hatchet, and this knife is an exclusive knife to cut eel from belly side. You can tap a prick punch by using the salient back.
Eel knife Osaka style.
The shape of blade is same to a Kiridashi knife, but the back is thick. From the tip to the end of the handle is made by one piece, and the tip is a same angle to Edo style.
Eel knife Edo style
The shape of the tip is like a Kiridashi knife. The end of handle was cut slantingly. The handle is short, so it is satisfied in your hand completely. This knife is to cut eel from back side. The big size one is to fillet an eel, and the small size one is to fillet a conger or a loach.
Loach knife
This is a small kitchen knife to fillet a Loach, and this is Edo style. You use it to fillet a loach or a conger.
HAMO (sea eel) knife
The handle is Tomoe, same to an eel knife Osaka style. A hamo is slightly bigger than an eel, so the blade of hamo knife is thick, and the handle is made so that you can use your power easily. The hamo knife became such a shape based on the intention of chefs of a hamo.
HAMO (sea eel) knife
This is a single-ground edge knife to use cutting fishbone, such as a hamo or a greenling – both fish have many small bones.  You cut them rhythmically from this side to the other side at least 5-6 times per 1cm.The back is thick and heavy, but the edge is thin to cut hamo finely except its skin. The blade is about 30cm long.