Tojiro Child Santoku: One Adults' New Favourite Knife
May 06, 20213 min read
Let me paint you a picture: the world is more than a year into COVID-19. I’ve played all the video games. My house is spotless. My projects are more or less finished. I have gotten so far into home cooking that my partner and I spend hours peeling garlic to bulk prep our own condiments. I have mastered beans and stocks and tamagoyaki. I’m not quite to the point of churning my own butter, but I am running out of things to waste time on. Enter: the Tojiro Child Santoku.
Some facts about this tiny banger of a knife: If it wasn’t glaringly obvious, it was designed for children to learn with. It features a rounded tip and heel for extra safety and comes in three radical colours (yellow, blue, pink). The blade is adorned with a chicken, fish, a happy tomato, and a smiley face that inexplicably has only one eyebrow. I often wonder what happened to that extra eyebrow. Did he lose it in a tragic accident?
The steel, molybdenum vanadium, is the same as the Tojiro Red Handle series. It’s a softer steel that’s super rugged but still holds an edge for a solid six months. This little guy is slicing paper and holding his own against some of our more durable knives right out of the box!
Who doesn't need a colourful knife in their life?
How I, an adult, ended up with a knife for children
Legend has it that this knife is excellent for cheese. It’s got a hollow/concave grind, which in theory makes less surface area for things to get stuck to (which, weirdly enough, also applies to the yanagiba shape if you wanna stay on the train of using knives for things they aren’t meant for). Plausible enough!
Over the time I’ve worked at Knifewear, I’ve passed this knowledge down to hundreds of people, and while I don’t doubt that it’s true, I love testing things for myself before I recommend them to someone else. If I’ve tried most of our other awesome knives, why would I exclude the kid’s knife? Nobody else had one for me to borrow, so my most recent “New Knife Day” was for the Tojiro Child Santoku. In pink, of course. So, for no other reason other than to make my life harder and satiate some curiosities, I committed to using this knife for everything for a month.
What it worked really well on
CHEESE! The legends are true! Cheddar, hard cheese like Grana Padano or parm, even brie!
Tofu... but what doesn’t cut tofu, and it’s just a little short for the lengthwise cuts
Nuts, just not a lot of area to work with, but you don’t have to worry about it chipping!
Anything you don’t want to do with more delicate steel.
Eh, maybe not
Chicken breast, roasts, big pieces of meat. Just not long enough for this guy, but for cubing from strips, maybe!
Squash (yeah, I tried, so you don’t have to)
Butchery... Perhaps you could do tiny butchery? Frogs? A single anchovy?
The Child Santoku is simply adorable on a knife magnet.
BUT IS THE TOJIRO CHILD SANTOKU RIGHT FOR ME?
Need to chop nuts and look cute as heck doing it without wrecking your knife? Tojiro child santoku. Got guests you don’t trust with your fancier blades? Tojiro child santoku. Are you stuck on a desert island and need to open a coconut? Tojiro child santoku, maybe. IDK I haven’t been on a desert island.
As fun as it was to attempt to do everything with it, and jokes aside, this is an excellent knife for kids; It’s tall enough to get the hang of the “claw” grip, so they don’t nick their fingers; it’s rounded where it matters so no one gets poked, but most importantly, it’s sharp enough (and therefore safe enough) to be a real knife, and it’s a great learning opportunity to stoke that passion for cooking. This knife would be great to give your kid a little bit of trust in their own independence. Make sure to grab them the cut-resistant glove too!
If you’re someone who is a little intimidated by bigger knives or on a budget, Tojiro also has some great knives with the same durability, but with a little more length, so you can do, you know, everything else with them. Here for the colour? Tojiro Strawberry Bunka. Love the durability? Check out the Tojiro Red Handles! Prefer something a little prettier? Masutani has a fantastic selection of affordable hammered and damascus knives.
It's true! The Tojiro Child Santoku is excellent for cheese.
Or you can stick with the Tojiro Child Santoku for the world’s dorkiest charcuterie accessory. Up to you!