Food & Drink

What is the best Japanese chef knife?

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 1st, 2016 10:55 pm
Deal Addict
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Jan 20, 2009
1781 posts
If you have money then below lol;

Bob Kramer Knives

"That was 1994. Since then I have become one of 120 Master Bladesmiths in the US. To earn this title from the American Bladesmith Society, one must undergo years of study and then pass a Master's Test. The test required building a 10" Bowie knife made of 300+ layers of steel. This one knife had to cut through a 1" free hanging rope in one swing, chop through a two-by-four twice, shave a swatch of arm hair (after the two-by-four), and finally, bend the blade at a 90 degree angle without the blade breaking. If you succeed, then you submit five flawless knives (including a 15th century Quillion dagger, a very difficult knife to make) to a panel of judges."

It's pretty impressive LOL. there are some people on youtube trying to forge a knife knife by doing the above tests mentioned. Pretty neat documentary also on blade forging.
Dec 2, 2006
9 posts
Been using my Global knives for at least 10 years now and have never needed sharpening.
Always amazed at how they can maintain their sharpness for so long.
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Oct 9, 2010
2735 posts
I have a Shun Classic 8" and a Santoku Premier; stay sharp a long time, easy to sharpen (seems like a stupid thing to say, but they're just easy to keep a nice edge when sharpening), nice weight, and they look nice.

Note: I've never used any other "good" knives, so my comparison is against Wusthoff, Henkells, etc. , not the calibre of knives you are comparing.
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
11412 posts
Deeman wrote: Been using my Global knives for at least 10 years now and have never needed sharpening.
Always amazed at how they can maintain their sharpness for so long.
You should get them professionally sharpened anyways and be amazed at the difference.
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Aug 4, 2007
1216 posts
Like others have mentioned none of the ones you were thinking. Those are mass production knives with nothing "special" to them. With the traditional Japanese knife you will not be looking at stainless and will need better upkeep. I would suggest you reconsider if you want to blow the money without the knowledge of what constitutes a good knife coming out of japan. For something unique with tradition at the low end you will be looking at $3-500 CAD per knife, and if you don't truly appreciate it I'd stay with a production knife and just keep it sharpened.

Bob kramer has a decent line with henckles that I'm a fan of, super sharp out of box as it's below 15 degree edge, keeps your stainless, and pricepoint isn't wallet breaking. A true Bob Kramer is... well... as much as a car...
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Nov 15, 2004
19353 posts
Deeman wrote: Been using my Global knives for at least 10 years now and have never needed sharpening.
Always amazed at how they can maintain their sharpness for so long.
I'm very happy with mine as well. I just need to learn how to sharpen them myself.

I was gifted a Misono chef's knife that I use pretty regularly as well, but the Globals are prettier and work about the same.
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Jan 19, 2008
1753 posts
you might find knives easier just buying online imo, most sought after makers/knives are usually also hard to find locally in japan... last long time with min maintenance is tricky as most good knives require regular touchups to keep you over until you need to put a new edge on it. You would be looking a stainless or semi stainless instead of Carbon if you want a knive you don't need to take care of while you use it. SG2 is powdered metal and would be on the chippier side of things since they are usually at a higher HRC, but then again it depends on your use and technique.
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Sep 23, 2014
1886 posts
Toronto, ON
The brands that you mentioned are mass produced & marketed knives and are not a true representation of Japanese knife making skills by traditional artisans. While they are good, they come nowhere close to true hand forged, shaped and polished knives such as Shigefusa or Takeda. I also suggest you NOT buy the knives during your trip to Japan as you may run into communication issues with the local dealers. The places that cater to tourist usually do not carry the real deal and you might walk away disappointed. There is a local Japanese knife shop in downtown toronto called Tosho Knife arts - and the owner (with deep understanding of the local Japanese blacksmith culture) imports the hand forged knives directly from the blacksmith in Japan and his prices are very reasonable.

He'll even teach you know to properly maintain the knives to keep them in tip top condition. Lastly, unless you are going for stainless steel Japanese knives which are far inferior than true carbon steel (tendency to rust), you'll need to learn how to sharpen and maintain them with Japanese wetstones. It can quickly become addictive and once you've experience true carbon steel knives, you'll never look back :) The beauty of Japanese knives and hand sharpening one can change the cutting profile of the blade based on your personal preference.

Below are some pictures of my own Shigefusa knives after six months of heavy use and about 1 hour of sharpening and polishing:

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Feb 26, 2009
755 posts
I use a Global SAI 7.5" chef knife. Heavier than the Global Classic chef knife.
Deal Guru
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Mar 9, 2007
13689 posts
Think of the Childre…
pleebent wrote: Hi all,

I'm heading to Tokyo for vacation soon and plan on buying a very nice Japanese knife. I've researched a few different brands and am wondering which one is the best bang for the buck?

So far I am looking at:

Shun classic/premier 8"
Misono UX10 8.2",
Masamoto VG (western stainless steel)
Masamoto KS (Japanese carbon)
Miyabi sg2

I do prefer the yo "D" shapes handles over the western style. Also since I don't plan on going back to Tokyo for a while, I want this knife to last me a very long time with minimal maintenance.

Please let me know your thoughts and if I should consider any other brand. Thank you.
Pick me up a knife. Thanks!