FREE SHIPPING IN NORTH AMERICA ON ORDERS OVER $200 (Some exclusions apply)
FREE SHIPPING IN NORTH AMERICA ON ORDERS OVER $200 (Some exclusions apply)
January 31, 2023 5 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!
|TRANSLATION/DEFINITION||WHY WE CARE|
|Ao||Blue||Used to describe Blue carbon steel.|
|Aogami||Blue paper||Blue carbon steel|
|Aogami Super||Super blue paper||Super blue carbon steel.|
|Ara-to||Coarse stone||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).|
|Carbon Steel||Steel with <10.5% Chromium||Will Patina and can rust if not taken care of.|
|Chuka Bocho||Chinese Kitchen Knife||The Japanese name for Chinese cleavers, often used to describe Chinese-inspired cleavers made in Japan|
|Damascus||Generic term for patterned welded steel||Damascus Steel is a famous sword material from Syria, now used to describe blades with pattern-welded steel.|
|Deba||Single-bevel fish fillet knife||Fish Butchery 105 to 210mm.|
A city in Fukui prefecture
Knives made in Echizen are called Echizen-uchi knives.
|Funayuki||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.
|Garasuki||Slightly bigger version of Honesuki||Used for butchering poultry and game.|
|Ginsan||Silver three||Made by Hitachi metals. Forgeable stainless steel popularly used in Sakai.|
|Gyuto||Cow sword||Chef knife, all purpose.|
|Hakata||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.
|Hamon||Wavy line on Honyaki knives||Is produced by differential heat-treatment.|
|Honesuki||Japanese poultry & boning knife||Great for chickens, ducks, fish, & more.|
|Honyaki||True-forged||Knife made from one piece of hard steel, with differential heat treatment (with clay).|
|Ishime||Rock Surface||Finish on Moritaka Ishime knives, originally hunting knife finish.|
|Kamagata||Sickle shaped||A knife tip shaped like sickle.|
|Kamisori||Razor||Used to describe Japanese-style straight razors.|
|Kasumi||Mist||Haze on the blade (hon-kasumi) like on the Hado Sakai Junpaku. Also referring to the knives made with cladding technique.|
|Kasumi-Uchi||Hammered Kasumi, very drunk Kasumi||Making sure you actually read this.|
|Kataba||Single bevel edge||Single bevel knife.|
|Kiritsuke||Cut at||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'.|
|Ko||Prefix meaning small||Ko-bunka (small bunka), Ko-nakiri (small nakiri), etc.|
|Koba||Small edge||Secondary edge meant to strengthen the primary edge of a knife.|
|Kurouchi||Black Hammered||Black finish left on the blade instead of polished. It will prevent from rusting.|
|Kyomen||Mirror surface||Mirror finished knives. If the finish is applied to carbon steel knife, it will prevent from rusting.|
|Maguro bocho||Tuna knife||Tuna butchering knife often from 40cm to 110cm.|
|Menkiri||Noodle cutting||General term for noodle cutting knife for Udon and Soba.|
|Migaki||Polished||Matte polished finish on knives, but not as polished as mirror.|
|Mioroshi||Fish fillet||Slightly narrower and thinner deba. Fishermen carry this knife for butchering & slicing fish. Hybrid of Yanagiba and Deba.|
|Miyabi||elegant, Graceful||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.|
|Nakiri||Leafy Veggie cutter||
Knife shape great for vegetables, especially cabbage, lettuce and green onions
|Nashiji||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.
|Patina||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.|
|Rockwell Scale||Rating of hardness, abbreviated to HRC||Kitchen knives usually vary from 52-68, higher rockwell usually means longer edge retention & higher likelihood of chipping.|
|Ryoba||Double bevel edge||Knife that is equally sharpened from both sides, the most common way of sharpening a knife.|
|Sakai||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.
|Sanjo||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.
|Sasanoha||Bamboo leaf||Knife shape between Sujihiki and Gyuto, made by Takeda-san.|
|Made for specific knives, usually from wood. Some higher-end blades come with them.|
|Seki||City in Gifu prefecture famous for factory made kitchen knives. Also 700yrs history of sword making||
Famous for manufactured made kitchen knives. Also 700yrs history of sword making. Shun, Miyabi, Mcusta, Seki Kanetsugu, Shizu
|Semi-stainless Steel||Steel that isn't quite stainless, but doesn't rust easily||We created this terminology to reference stainless steels that can oxidize more easily than most stainless steel.|
|Shinogi-Suji||The line separates primary bevel and belly of the knife.|
|Shiro||White||Used to describe White carbon steel.|
|Shirogami||White paper||White carbon steel|
Knife brand by Kai in Seki
|Sobakiri||Soba cutting||A knife for cutting soba noodles. Very tall and has very flat edge|
|Stainless Steel||Steel with >10.5% Chromium||It generally will not develop a patina.|
|Steel||Iron and Carbon alloy||All our knives are made of steel!|
|Sujihiki||Flesh slicer||Knife shape, great for slicing raw and cooked meat.|
|Named for a paper/ silk dyeing technique of swirling ink on top of water, used to describe knives made from layered steel.|
Name of the city now known as Echizen
|Known for Echizen knives, also where Masakage knives are from.|
|Takefu Special Steel||Steel company in Fukui||Known for VG-series and SG2.|
|Takobiki||Octopus slice||Sashimi slicing knife.The tip of the knife is cut off straight.|
|Tamahagane||Traditional steel used on certain kamisori and Japanese swords.|
Old name for Kochi prefecture
Famous for handmade knives, known for their Kurouchi blades. Strong ties to Sakai knives.
|Hammered Finish on blade.|
|Uchi||Hit or hammered||
Often referred as "forged in", i.e. Echizen-uchi, Sakai-uchi, Tosa-uchi
|Single bevel knife for vegetables.|
|Wa||Prefix meaning Japanese style||Wa-handle refers to a traditional Japanese knife handle.|
Willow leaf blade
|Single bevel knife for slicing|
|Yo-||Western||Prefix used to indicate western-style, such as yo-handle.|
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.
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