14 Different Japanese Knife Types

The knife is an essential utensil in the kitchen used for various uses such as dicing, chopping, cutting, peeling, mincing, slicing and many other tasks.

While many kitchen owners may not think much about the knife they are using, knives come in different styles, with the Japanese knife being one of them.

These knives are made from the highest standards and pay a lot of attention to details.

They are typically specialised knives and are sharpened on only one side, unlike western style knives that are sharpened on both sides.

Here is a rundown of 14 different types of Japanese knives.

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1. Gyutou (Chef’s Knife)

Gyutou means beef knife in Japanese (you’ll need a Whetstone too).

This is an ideal kitchen knife that can be used for many different tasks (likewise see the best Japanese knife sets)

It is made of steel and is characteristically lighter and thinner when compared to a European Knife.

2. Santoku (Multipurpose)

Santoku is a Japanese name meaning 3 virtues, which are cutting meat, fish, and vegetables.

The main difference between this multipurpose knife and the gyutou is that it has a taller blade profile.

Its flatter belly means it can be comfortably used with an up and down chopping motion.

3. Sujihiki (slicer)

The Sujihiki is made of harder steel and is thinner than the European slicer knife.

It also has a steeper angle that makes it ideal for making precise cuts.

4. Paring/petty

These knives are ideal for small delicate tasks that cannot be done with the chef’s knife.

5. Honesuki (boning)

The honesuki knife has a stiffer and triangular blade when compared to its Western version.

6. Honkotsu (boning)

This Japanese boning knife has a thick spine and is mainly used for deboning hanging meat.

7. Nakiri (vegetable knife)

The nakiri knife is mainly used for making precise cuts to vegetables.

It can also be used for cutting into produce with hard skin such as pumpkins.

8. Y0-Deba (butchery)

The Yo-deba is a heavy knife with a thick spine mainly used in cutting knife and in butcheries.

9. Yanagi (slicer)

This single edge Japanese knife means they can get very sharp, making them ideal for making precise slices to sashimi, sushi, and crudo.

10. Takobiki (slicer)

The Takobiki is a variation of the Yanagi in that they also have a sharp edge, which makes them ideal for a long drawing motion cut.

They are thus mainly used to make precise cuts to sashimi, Crudo and sushi.

The knife is believed to have originated from Kanto in Tokyo.

It differs slightly from the Yanagi with its blunt tip, which chefs in Tokyo favoured due to less space between them and customers, thus making it safer to use.

11. Deba (butchery)

They are similar to the Yo-deba in that they are heavy and have a thick spine.

They are mainly used in butcheries and their size varies depending on the meat been cut.

12. Usuba (vegetable knife)

It has a single edge that can get incredibly sharp. They are mainly used for precise vegetable work.

13. Kiritsuke (slicer)

This knife has an angled tip, favoured mostly as sashimi knife.

It is traditionally used only by the Executive Chef in Japanese restaurant kitchens.

14. Pankiri (bread knife)

The knife has ridged teeth and is mainly used to slice bread, baked goods, and hard crusts.

These Are The Different Types Of Japanese Kitchen Knife

  1. Gyutou (Chef’s Knife)
  2. Santoku (Multipurpose)
  3. Sujihiki (slicer)
  4. Paring/petty
  5. Honesuki (boning)
  6. Honkotsu (boning)
  7. Nakiri (vegetable knife)
  8. Y0-Deba (butchery)
  9. Yanagi (slicer)
  10. Takobiki (slicer)
  11. Deba (butchery)
  12. Usuba (vegetable knife)
  13. Kiritsuke (slicer)
  14. Pankiri (bread knife)