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Kitchen Tools: All You Need to Know About Japanese Knives

In any kitchen, knives are essential because they cut up food for cooking and eating. For this reason, many chefs, professional or otherwise, usually maintain a high-quality set of knives, which are generally from overseas. For example, German knives are particularly notable for their quality, but others often dispute this. For many people, the best knives are considered to be from Japan. 

Japanese knives are revered because they're made of harder steel, meaning they can hold their edge longer. The knives are also lighter and thinner than German knives, making them easier to control. Because of their reputation, Japanese knives are a must-have for any kitchen, especially in homes. However, few people know how Japanese knives came to be, so we'll discuss the details in this article.

A Brief History of Japanese Knives

Japan has a long history of making knives, dating back to the 14th century. The Japanese knives were initially made from iron and steel from the Chinese Tang Dynasty. During the Kamakura period, Japanese swordsmiths began to use the technique of combining iron and steel to create the katana. This was a new way to make a sword because it was lighter and harder than before. 

It was during the same period that Japanese knives began to be made. The knives were similar to the katana, as they were made using the same methods and materials. However, the knives were not as large as the swords, as they were intended for use in the kitchen. Over time, Japanese knives began making other materials, such as bronze, but the knives from this period are considered the best.

The Japanese knives became popular when the Japanese began to trade with other countries. The knives were particularly popular in Europe and the United States, as they were considered to be of a higher quality than what was available. The knives were also popular because they were easy to use and had a simple design.

Japanese Knives vs. Western Knives

There are key differences when comparing Japanese knives to Western knives, such as the blade's shape. Japanese knives have a much more curved blade than Western knives, and the blade on the former is thinner than the blade on the latter. 

Another difference between Japanese and Western knives is the way the knives are held. Japanese knives are held with the blade pointing downwards, while Western knives are held with the blade pointing upwards. This is because Japanese knives are designed for slicing, while Western knives are designed for chopping.

Finally, Japanese knives are often made of different materials than Western knives. Japanese knives are often made of stainless steel, while Western knives are often made of carbon steel. Stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion and is easier to sharpen, while carbon steel is harder and holds an edge better.

Japanese Knife Maintenance

To keep your Japanese knife in top condition, you should hand wash it and dry it immediately after each use. However, you should never put your Japanese knife in the dishwasher, as this can damage the blade. You should also avoid using your Japanese knife on hard surfaces, such as ceramic or glass, as this can damage the blade. 

When storing your Japanese knife, you should keep it in a dry place. Do not store your Japanese knife in a drawer with other knives, as this can dull the blade. Instead, store your Japanese knife in a knife block or on a magnetic knife strip.

Where to Find Japanese Knives

You can find Japanese knives at many kitchen specialty stores and online. When purchasing a Japanese knife online, research to ensure you're buying a high-quality one. 


Japanese knives are some of the best in the world and can make a great addition to any kitchen. Of course, you must take care of them to ensure they last long. All that matters is finding the right knife for your needs and taking care of it properly.

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