About the Shape - Santoku means 'Three Virtues' or 'To solve Three Problems'. The three virtues are meat, fish and vegetables, or slicing, dicing and mincing depending on your interpretation. This means that the Santoku is an all-around knife, suitable for the amateur home cook and the professional chef alike. The height means good clearance for big hands, while the relatively short blade can be wielded by anyone.
Koichi Tsurumaki-san is a third-generation blacksmith in Sanjo who is specialized in sickles.There are two types of bladesmith in Sanjo. One is so-called “Atsumono” blacksmiths who specialize in thick blades like hatchets, plain blades, hammers and chisels and they are the majority in Sanjo. Another is called “Usumono” blacksmiths who specialize in kitchen knives and sickles, and they were pretty rare in the Sanjo area. Tsurumaki-san has been a sickle blacksmith since his father. He started working with his father when he was 16. Almost a half-century after, he started making kitchen knives that are also considered to be a “Usumono” or thin blades which is his specialty. His knives are made with white carbon steel in the core and clad with soft iron like traditional Japanese knives.