Knifewear Glossary of Japanese Kitchen Knife Terminology
January 31, 20231 min read
We use a lot of words at Knifewear, and a lot of them aren't english. Here are some of our most commonly used Japanese words with English definitions. This is an ever growing list, so if you see something that is missing, contact us and we'll add it in!
Naoto came to Canada in 2007 and we aren't letting him go back. After getting angry with his roommate's dull knives, he started to dream of sharp Japanese knives. Naoto graduated from the University of Calgary with a bachelor degree of art, majoring International Relations and finds that selling Japanese knives is his own way of doing international relations. Naoto is our Cultural Ambassador bridging Japan and Canada. You can also see him in SpringHammer looking cool and holding it all together.
TRANSLATION / DEFINITION
WHY WE CARE
Used to describe Blue carbon steel.
Blue carbon steel.
Super blue paper
Super blue carbon steel
Used to classify sharpening stones.
Multipurpose / All Purpose
Knife shape from Shosui Takeda-san. Interchangeable with Santoku or Bunka.
Bocho / Hocho
We love kitchen knives!
Culture (literal meaning)
Knife shape (Like a santoku with a pointed tip).
Steel with <10.5% Chromium
Will Patina and can rust if not taken care of.
The Japanese name for Chinese cleavers, often used to describe Chinese-inspired cleavers made in Japan.
Chinese Kitchen Knife.
Damascus Steel is a famous sword material from Syria, now used to describe blades with pattern-welded steel.
Generic term for patterned welded steel.
Single-bevel fish fillet knife.
Fish Butchery 105 to 210mm.
Knives made in Echizen are called Echizen-uchi knives.
A city in Fukui prefecture.
ship and "go".
The term is in regards to a fishermen's knife. Multi-purpose knife for slicing and filleting. It is also a regional term for multipurpose knife, Takeda-san uses this term instead of Santoku.
Slightly bigger version of Honesuki.
Used for butchering poultry and game.
Made by Hitachi metals. Forgeable stainless steel popularly used in Sakai.
Chef knife, all purpose.
Name of a ward in Fukuoka.
Refers to the Hakata shape, very similar to a bunka. Term is used because it used to be region specific shape.
Wavy line on Honyaki knives.
Is produced by differential heat-treatment.
Japanese poultry & boning knife.
Great for chickens, ducks, fish, & more.
Knife made from one piece of hard steel, with differential heat treatment (with clay).
Finish on Moritaka Ishime knives, originally hunting knife finish.
A knife tip shaped like sickle.
Used to describe Japanese-style straight razors.
Haze on the blade (hon-kasumi) like on the Hado Sakai Junpaku. Also referring to the knives made with cladding technique.
Hammered Kasumi, very drunk Kasumi
Making sure you actually read this.
Single bevel edge.
Single bevel knife.
Slightly wider blade with a flatter edge & angled tip. Originally single bevel, also available double bevel. Kiritsuke can be used to describe a tip style on other knives, also called 'k-tip'.
Prefix meaning small.
Ko-bunka (small bunka), Ko-nakiri (small nakiri), etc.
Secondary edge meant to strengthen the primary edge of a knife.
Black finish left on the blade instead of polished. It will prevent from rusting.
Mirror finished knives. If the finish is applied to carbon steel knife, it will prevent from rusting.
Tuna butchering knife often from 40cm to 110cm.
General term for noodle cutting knife for Udon and Soba.
Matte polished finish on knives, but not as polished as mirror.
Slightly narrower and thinner deba. Fishermen carry this knife for butchering & slicing fish. Hybrid of Yanagiba and Deba.
Japanese knife brand owned by Henckels.
Name of a specific type of natural stones.
Natural nagura are used for created slurry on natural stones, synthetic nagura are used to clean synthetic stones.
Leafy Veggie cutter.
Knife shape great for vegetables, especially cabbage, lettuce and green onions.
Pear skin finish.
Finish on blades inspired by the skin of asian pears.
Construction method used for single bevel knives. One piece of soft steel forge-welded onto hard steel.
Protective oxidation on high-carbon steel (dark & cool colours).
This will happen on all carbon knives with time and proper care, and should be encouraged to protect the steel.
Small from French language (Petite).
Small knife shape, great utility/ paring knife.
Rating of hardness, abbreviated to HRC.
Kitchen knives usually vary from 52-68, higher rockwell usually means longer edge retention & higher likelihood of chipping.
Double bevel edge.
Knife that is equally sharpened from both sides, the most common way of sharpening a knife.
City in Osaka
Famous for single bevel knives. Most professional chefs in Japan use at least a knife from this city.
Refers to a yanagiba, takobiki or sujihiki with a rounded tip, looks like the tip of a Japanese sword.
A knife making technique. A piece of softer steel is forge welded onto either side of a billet of hard steel to protect it. Most of our knives are made this way.
City in Niigata prefecture.
Famouse for manufacture of handmade steel products, including knives. Masashi, Hinoura, Tadafusa, Iwasaki etc.
Toku also means benefit. Knife shape, great for everyday use.
Naoto came to Canada several years ago and we aren't letting him go back. After getting angry with his roommate's dull knives, he started to dream of sharp Japanese knives. Naoto graduated from University of Calgary with a bachelor degree of art, majoring International Relations and finds that selling Japanese knives is his own way of doing international relations. Naoto is our Head of Shipping and receiving. You can also see him in SpringHammer looking cool and holding it all together.