What are Japanese knives?

The purpose of using a kitchen knife is not only to cut food to remove inedible parts and resize them for the eaters. The way the blade passes through the cells and fibers of the food influences the flavor. A fine and sharp blade can slice through with little pressure in a clean stroke, leaving a smooth surface and preserving all the juices and flavors. The preserved texture, along with the taste and smell, make up the pleasure of eating.

Traditional japanese kitchen knives are extremely sharp due to the ancient forging techniques. Several chunks of molten steel are repeatedly heated, hammered and cooled to make a hard, but elastic, steel. All the factors in the process are important to make the finished hard blade. If incorrect, the blade can crack or chip.

Cutting if fundamental for the Japanese cuisine. The proverb "katsu-shu-ho-ju" or "kappo" means "cut first, then simmer", emphasizing the importance of the knife in this cuisine. The art of cutting techniques are applied even in foods that will be cooked and lose their appearance. The tradition dictates that a good appearance translates in good flavor.

The principal characteristic of the japanese knife is the single sided blade. The one sided bevel allows a cleaner cut. As most people are right handed, the right side of the blade is angled and theres a natural tendency to steer to the left. This allows a clean cut and a precise shaping of the food item.

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