Japanese kitchen knife Blade grind

Review chef knives

Single bevel knives are traditional Japanese knives. They have an omote, a shinogi and an urasuki. These knives are usually a little thicker at the spine and body than Japanese double bevels but are thinner right behind the edge.

While they leave a better surface finish, the produce must bend further because of the thickness of the blade. These are the knives of the established traditional Japanese cuisine and were originally developed from the Chinese double bevel knives. They are sharpened along the single bevel by applying pressure to both the shinogi and the edge. Honbazuke is the initial sharpening that forms a flat surface along the perimeter of the urasuki strengthening it.

This practice also straightens the backside and lays a shape for future sharpening. The omote is sharpened much more than the urasuki in order to maintain the function of the single bevel. Kansai style knives usually have pointed tip for vertical cuts, which helps in decorative tip work. Edo style knives have a square tip used for horizontal cuts, rendering a more robust working knife. The standard Japanese knife kit includes the yanagiba, deba, and usuba. They are essential to Washoku.


The most popular knife for cutting fish, also known as shobu-bocho. It is used to highlight different textures of fish in their techniques: hirazukuri to pull cut vertically, usuzukuri to pull cut thin vertically, and sogizukuri to pull cut at an angle. It is used to skin and sometimes scale and de-bone certain fish. Yanagiba have angled tips and are generally heavier and have less sloping. A regional variant, takohiki is lighter, thinner, flatter, and shorter in blade height than yanagiba to allow easier cutting through dense flesh such as that of an octopus. General size is 270 mm to 330 mm.


Thick knives to cut through resilient fish flesh for fillet and to cut through rib bones, behind the head, and through the head. They are 5mm to 9mm thick depending on size. They include hon-deba, ko-deba, ajikiri, funayuki, and mioroshi deba.
The smaller sizes are less thick, allow the knife to move through flesh easily, and are much more nimble. They are still much thinner behind the edge and more fragile than a Western butcher knife. The general size is 120 mm to 210 mm.


Thinnest of the three general knife shapes, which utilizes a flat edge profile. It is used for push cutting, katsuramuki and sengiri. There is edo-usuba and kamagata-usuba. General sizes are 180 mm to 240 mm.


hybrid with the length of yanagiba and the blade height and profile of usuba with an angled tip as a compromise. Requires great knife control because of the height, length, and flatness. General size is 240 mm to 300 mm.


Used along with usuba for vegetables. It has an angled tip for decorative vegetable cutting. General size is 150 mm to 210 mm.


It is a knife intermediate in thickness and length between deba and yanagiba to cut the thin bones and flesh of pike conger. General size is 240 mm to 300 mm.


It is used to cut perpendicular or parallel to the tuna and is sized accordingly. Sizes range from 400 mm to 1500 mm.


Used to debone chicken. A thicker version called garasuki is used to cut through bones. Most have an angled tip to slip between tendons and cut them. General size is 135 mm to 180 mm.
Sobakiri: A variant is udonkiri. General size is 210 mm to 300 mm.


Eel knife. Comes in variants from Kanto, Kyoto, Nagoya, and Kyushu.