Types of kitchen knife, Japanese knife

Japanese knife, kitchen knives, Australia, Brisbane, knife shop, Masamoto, Yoshihiro, Glestain

January 11, 2018

Types of kitchen knife, Japanese knife


For chefs, kitchen knives are the most closest and the most useful tool. Some people said “Knife is an extension of the chef’s arm.

Today, let’s have a look at knife types. What types of knives, and how each type is used. As well as types of Japanese knives that some chefs feel unfamiliar.




The Yanagi is a long slicing knife that was designed to slice thin slices of fish for sushi and sashimi. The length and shape of the blade allows it to slice through an ingredient in long uninterrupted strokes, preserving the freshness and integrity of ingredients. Yanagiba is the most widely used sashimi knife. In addition, Takohiki and Fuguhiki are variation of yanagiba.



The Deba knife is a heavy knife that was made to filet and butcher whole fish. The heft of the Deba knife allows it to cut through the heads and bones of a fish, and its smaller pointed tip filets the flesh from the bones. The Deba knife can used be for chicken and meat but is not recommended for cutting through large bones.


Gyuto(Chef knife)

The Gyuto knife is the Japanese equivalent of the Western chef knife. It is an all-purpose knife and can be used for cutting fish, meat and chopping vegetables. Considered the quintessential kitchen knife for general tasks, this knife is useful for making classic cuts such as julienne, dice. Once you are comfortable with a chef knife’s size and weight, it can be used for a wide variety of kitchen tasks from chopping delicate herbs to shredding a head of cabbage.



Kiritsuke knife is a hybrid design combining features of Usuba and Yanagiba. The Kiritsuke knife is slightly wider. That can be used as an all-purpose knife. In sushi restaurant in Japan, this knife is traditionally used by the Executive Chef only and cannot be used by other cooks.



A Santoku knife is used to cut, slice, chop, and dice. It works well for slicing items such as fish, meat and chopping vegetables, The word Santoku translates as “3 good things” which means it is versatile like a chef’s knife and cuts vegetables, fish and meat. This can be used as an alternative to the chef’s knife and is popular for those with small hands or anyone who finds a chef’s knife overly heavy.



Usuba is a vegetable knife. The blade is wider and thin, allowing cutting hard vegetables such as carrots without cracking them.

The literal translation of 'usuba' is thin blade - 'usui' is the Japanese for thin and 'ha', as in hamono, means blade. In Japan you're more likely to see an usuba in the hands of a professional chef. Along with the deba and yanagiba it's one of the three main knives used in a Japanese commercial kitchen.



Sujihiki is a double edge slicing knife with a long narrow blade that smoothly slices through meat or vegetables and preserves the integrity of each ingredient's freshness. It is mainly used to remove tendons (suji) from meat, but can be used for slicing cooked meats and ham.


Salmon knife

For this one it’s kind of all in the name (though as with the ham slicer it can be put to other uses). The salmon slicer has a long, thin blade and a point. This is a rather specialised knife, in that taking skin off of a salmon with anything else is so much more difficult than when using one of these for instance. As salmon have bones and skin, the point on this is very useful to have.



Scimitar(or cimetar) knife is a cousin of the classic butcher knife. Its upward curving blade makes it well suited for cutting and trimming steaks.


Cleaver / Chinese chopper

Whats the difference between a Chinese Chopper and a Cleaver?  A Chinese Chopper is the Asian equivalent of a knife and is used for chopping meat and vegetables. The European Cleaver is much heavier and is designed for chopping meat and poultry bones with a single downward stroke, or to slice through firm vegetables. The cleaver has a thicker edge to avoid chipping and hence is not suitable for general chopping like the Chinese chopper.


Petty / Paring

Petty knife is a small Japanese utility knife. Petty knife is similar to the Western style utility and paring knife, and is like a smaller version of a Gyuto. Range from around 100mm to 180mm in length.

Paring knife rates second in versatility after a chef's knife in a kitchen. This indispensable knife is handy for smaller precision tasks like peeling, trimming and slicing small fruits and vegetables.


Boning knife / Honehuki

Boning knife - This narrow-bladed knife curves inward to give you precision control when you remove meat and poultry from the bone. A very sharp, thin bladed knife used for trimming fat and carving meat off of bones.

Honehuki - The triangular blade and pointed tip of this Japanese-style boning knife make it excellent for working around the bones and joints in poultry.


Bread knife / Serrated knife

Most commonly known as a bread knife, the serrated slicer also works best for foods with a tender center, yet a firmer ‘crust’, such as a tomato or a ripe melon. The wavy blade allows controlled cuts that slice through the outer edge with ease and does not crush the interior. Be sure to reach for this knife to cut and serve delicate desserts with flaky pastry or meringue.




Jamie Yang