Definition of a good knife
「Sharpness” × “Permanent cutting” × “Durable”」
It is hard and cuts well, but it is hard to break and the blade does not spill. A kitchen knife that meets these conflicting requirements at a high level is called a “good knife”.
The first and most important function for kitchen knives is sharpness.
A knife that can be cut well is easier to handle, and the taste of the ingredients can be fully utilized in cooking.
Sashimi is a good example, but if you cut the sashimi with a knife that is not sharp, the tissue of the sashimi's cross section will be crushed and the fishy odor will stand out, resulting in a very bad taste. In addition, it can be said that it is safe because it uses less power than a knife that cuts well.
The next important condition is "permanent cutting", that is, good sharpness will last forever.
No matter how well you can cut a knife, the blade edge will decrease and you will not be able to cut it.
A kitchen knife that can be cut in the same way even if used 100 times is said to be a “good knife” rather than a knife that cannot be cut once.
Lastly, the important condition is "durable".
A hard knife may be used to maintain good sharpness and sharpness, but "hard" means that it is easy to "break" or "spill".
Santoku Series [Multi-Purpose]
The Santoku, which translates in to English as either “three-purpose" or “three virtues”, gained this name because it is well suited to cutting meat, fish, and vegetables. Santoku knives are often recommended as a multi-purpose kitchen knife for home cooks, and it is more commonly found in Japanese households than Gyuto knives.
The Santoku generally has a slightly taller blade than a similarly sized Gyuto or Petty knife. This provides a little more clearance for the knuckles of your knife hand when cutting directly above a cutting board, and also provides a good surface for the knuckles of your free hand to guide the blade during ‘tap chopping’, ‘push cutting' and ‘pull cutting'. However, it also makes the Santoku slightly less agile than narrower knives. A distinct characteristic of the Santoku is the curved Kamagata (Literally, “sickle-shaped”) tip, which forms a wider angle than the tip of a Gyuto or Petty knife. Relatively speaking, this results in a tip which is slightly less prone to breaking, but is also less nimble and precise. The Santoku can also cut and slice very efficiently with the blade edge kept parallel with to the cutting board, especially if the downward cutting motion is accompanied by either a small push or pull movement, which helps to initiate the cut.
Gyuto Series [Chef's Knife]
The Gyuto is the Japanese version of the classic Western Chef’s knife. It is a true multi-purpose knife that can perform wide range of tasks, can be used with a variety of different cutting techniques and is suitable for cutting the vast majority of meats, fishes, vegetables and fruits.
The pointed blade tip of the Gyuto is good for precision cuts or working in tight spaces. The relatively flat heel section of the blade is excellent for ‘rock chopping’ (A technique where the food is cut, chopped, or minced, by rocking the knife edge from tip to heel during the cut). and it is also tall enough to provide good surface contact with the knuckles when ‘tap chopping’ with the middle or tip of the blade. Finally, virtually any portion of the blade can be utilized to either ‘push cut’, or ‘pull cut’.
The blade of the Japanese Gyuto is typically thinner and lighter than that of a Western ‘chef’s knife', and the balance point of the Gyuto tends to be a little further forward towards the tip. The combination of these characteristics make the Gyuto feel extremely agile and precise in use.
Petty Series [Paring/Utility Knife]
A mainstay of professional Western kitchens, the Petty knife is a small general-purpose knife used for peeling, shaping, and slicing fruits and vegetables, chopping herbs, and making garnishes. The compact size and relatively narrow blade of the Petty knife mean that it is very nimble and controllable, thus it is ideal for making precise cuts. Compared to a Western-style handle, the lightweight traditional Japanese handle of the Wa Petty knife moves the balance point of the knife further towards the tip, which makes it feel even more nimble and precise.
The Nakiri is a double bevel edged knife with thin blade profile and popular throughout Japan, it is mainly used by home cooks for quickly and efficiently chopping, slicing, and mincing vegetables, fruits, becoming popular knife among vegetarians.
Funayuki Series [Multi-Purpose]The Funayuki (舟行) is a traditional Japanese knife that is used by fisherman aboard their boats; indeed, Funayuki literally translates in to English as "going on boat". These knives are often used by fishermen to clean, fillet and quality test small or medium-sized fish. However, in the past, fishermen also used their Funayuki to prepare food for themselves (either out at sea, or back at port), so the knife also had to be capable of cutting meat, vegetables and fruit - just like the similarly versatile Santoku and Gyuto.
You might think that the blade shape of the Funayuki appears similar to a Deba or Mioroshi Deba, however, the blade of the Funayuki is much lighter, thinner and more agile; Consequently, it should not be used to cut through bones, frozen food, or other hard ingredients. Because the Funayuki has a relatively flat blade profile, it works particularly well with 'push-cuts' and 'pull-cuts', however, it can also be used in a rocking motion to mince herbs or other ingredients. Not surprisingly, the Funayuki excels at filleting small fish, but it is also quite suitable for breaking down poultry.
Sashimi Knife Series [Slicer]
Traditional Japanese knife with a long and thin blade, which was originally used for cutting thin slices of raw fish - yes, sushi! Nowadays it can also be used for cutting large pieces of meat (especially for steaks) due to its long, thin blade. Typical Sashimi Bocho knives are between 240-360mm long and, according to some chefs, can be used for different kitchen tasks which require precision. Some of the distinguishing features of Sashimi Bocho knives are a Japanese handle and a chisel ground blade with an extremely small angle. Most famous Sashimi Bocho named Yanagiba. The expression “yanagiba” in Japan means “a willow”, as the blade of the knife resembles a willow leaf
Kiritsuke Bunka Series [Chef's Knife]
Bunka is a general purpose kitchen knife as Santoku and it used to be just as popular as the Santoku, but has become less commonplace in recent years. With its wider blade, the Bunka knife is suitable for cutting vegetables, while the triangle-shaped tip area is particularly useful when cutting fish and meats.
The main difference between the Santoku and the Bunka Bocho lies in the shape of the blade tip, with the Bunka Bocho having a ‘reverse tanto’ tip / ‘clip point’, rather than a curved Kamagata (“Sickle-shaped”) tip. Apart from this minor difference, the Bunka Hōchō shares the same advantages and disadvantages as the Sanatoku, which were discussed above.
Bunka 165mm and 180mm lengths are being particularly popular.
Deba Series [Fish]
The Japanese Deba, which is also called the Hon-deba (Literally, “true deba"), is traditionally used to clean and fillet whole fish, but it is also commonly used for breaking down and dressing poultry and other meat with small bones. The significant weight of the Deba is desirable because, with adequate care, the sturdy heel section of the knife can be used to cut or chop through the bones found in small and medium-sized fish and poultry.
Deba are commonly used to cut fish heads in half and, when used with the correct techniques, they can safely be used to remove and split open the legs and claws of crabs. However, the Deba is not recommended for chopping though large bones, and care must be taken, as with all knives, not to subject the blade edge to sideways forces (Perpendicular to the main axis, or length, of the blade), as this can result in chipping or cracking.
The spine of the Deba tapers considerably along its length, which means it is also possible to have a tip which is thin and sensitive enough that the user can feel whether or not it is touching the bones. This is ideal feature for a knife used for filleting. The tapered blade and stout handle of the Deba create a point of balance which is centered at the heel of the blade, and this results in the substantial knife feeling far more agile than one would expect. The combination of good overall balance and thin blade tip also result in a knife which is surprisingly good for doing delicate work.