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Types of Japanese Cooking Knives

Updated: 13 Jun 2024

DEBA knife (single-edged)
DEBA(出刃) knife is a traditional Japanese knife whose main aim is to cut through fish flesh, its rib bones, and its head, without damaging the fish. The blade needs to be thick(5 mm-9 mm), heavy and hard to be broken since cutting bones puts the knife a lot of pressure.
Please use this knife carefully even though it’s staunch and hard to be broken. Sometimes if you handle the knife roughly, it could get chipped. In that case, you would put yourself in a bad cycle where you can’t cut well with the knife so you would use it more forcefully or roughly and as a result, your knife will become in worse condition. It is essential to keep your sword clean and polish it regularly to avoid those situations.

Deba Knife

SASHIMI(刺身) knife is a Japanese knife primarily used to cut fish and to make sashimi slices or filet fish. Please use this knife carefully as it is more sensitive and thinner than DEBA knife.
There are various lengths of SASHIMI knives. The length depends on how big your kitchen is and how skillful you are with cooking knives.
One of the characteristics of long SASHIMI knives is that it saw off ingredients by using a whole edge. Therefore, the shape of the cross-section used with Sashimi knife is smoother, and the taste becomes better than ones cut by a short knife. At first, this knife is hard to handle, so we recommend you to use a knife whose edge is between 240mm and 270 mm length.


SANTOKU knife (double-edged)
SANTOKU(三徳) knife is a double-edged knife and can be used for cutting any sorts of ingredients such as meats, vegetables, and fish. This type of knife is the most popular knife in most Japanese homes because of its facility.
There are two parts of this knife (straight edge and curved edge).The straight edge is suitable for cutting vegetables, and the tip of a curved side is ideal for push cutting meats. SANTOKU is said to be an all-purpose knife that borrows a good part from each type of knife. That means if you take a look at individual usage, you can find a more suited knife.


GYUTO Knife(double-edged)
GYUTO(牛刀) is a versatile Chief’s knife, originally from western countries. It is long and thin, and the tip of the knife has a sharp end. It is close to SANTOKU knife(三徳包丁) regarding its shape and usage. This knife can be used for cutting vegetables, meats, and fish, making it suited for cooking western meals. Mostly, you need to push cut with this knife.
You can cut various kinds of ingredients with this knife like with SANTOKU knife, but its edge is more curved so there might be a situation where you thought you could cut everything but at the corner, everything was connected unless you are careful.


Petty knife (double-edged)
A Petty knife is a smaller version of GYUTO(牛刀). As the knife is short, you can easily handle it.
The main aim of this knife is to peel or cut fruits but the sharpness is as excellent as GYUTO, so if you like, you can cut meats, fish and so forth.
However, the length of its edge is just 9-15 cm. Therefore, this would do its job best when you are trying to make small decoration by cutting vegetables or fruits.