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Buying Japanese Knives in Japan


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#1 SG-

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 08:51 PM

looking to pick up a few knives to add to my collection

- Nenox 9.4" Gyutou ($279 is the cheapest I've found here)
http://www.nenohi.co...sp/nenox.s1.htm

- Masamoto yanagi (30/33 cm) Honyaki - ($700+ here)
http://www.japanese-...nt2/merchant.mv?

- Glestain 9.4" Gyutou (about $264 )
http://www.japanese-...nt2/merchant.mv?

what are the prices like in Japan? Are we getting gouged here? If they are significantly cheaper I'll probably get someone to ship them over to me. TIA

#2 torakris

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 10:53 PM

I have found some of the Glestain ones:

http://www.z-enomoto...fe.glestain.htm

the prices seem to be a little less then double the price.

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#3 torakris

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 11:03 PM

As the the nenox:

http://www.nenohi.co.jp/you/you.htm
the 9.4 inch gyutou is the 10th one down the list (240mm), there are two types, the one you have the picture of is over $300 in Japan while the other is about $160. So depending on which one you are referring to, you either ahve a great deal or it is over priced.

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#4 torakris

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 11:23 PM

‚h￾@‚￾‚￾￾@‚ˆ‚￾‚–‚‰‚Ž‚‡￾@‚￾￾@‚’‚…‚￾‚Œ‚Œ‚™￾@‚ˆ‚…‚￾‚’‚„￾@‚”‚‰‚￾‚…￾@‚†‚‰‚Ž‚„‚‰‚Ž‚‡￾@‚‰‚Ž‚†‚￾‚’‚￾‚￾‚”‚‰‚￾‚Ž￾@‚￾‚Ž Masamoto knives, according to the one site I did find they are the #1 Japanese style knives in Japan..............?

I did find this:

http://www.kodawariy...moto_yanagi.htm

these are prices for gyokukakuko yanagi, which are about $300 or so in the US, in Japan they seem to be about half of that.

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#5 TaaJ

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 05:01 PM

You could always morgtage your house and go after the Yanagi :raz: :raz:

http://www.japanese-...&Category_Code=

#6 inventolux

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 05:36 PM

looking to pick up a few knives to add to my collection

- Nenox 9.4" Gyutou ($279 is the cheapest I've found here)
http://www.nenohi.co...sp/nenox.s1.htm

- Masamoto yanagi (30/33 cm) Honyaki - ($700+ here)
http://www.japanese-...nt2/merchant.mv?

- Glestain 9.4" Gyutou (about $264 )
http://www.japanese-...nt2/merchant.mv?

what are the prices like in Japan? Are we getting gouged here? If they are significantly cheaper I'll probably get someone to ship them over to me. TIA

When I was working at Charlies, we spent about $250,000.000 a year on fish directly fed-exed from japan. As luck would have it, Masamoto's factory was located next door to the seafood supplier. Our chef de cuisine asked the fish supplier if he would be willing to purchase some knives from time to time and just place them in the bottom of a seafood box. They still do this today. Because the fish supplier already purchases knives from his neighbor, he gets them at cost. The cost we ended up paying after the fish suppliers mark-up for the Masamoto Honyaki Gyokuhakuko Yanagi Sashimi (33cm) was $245.00. The same exact knife at korin is $871.20. I wouldnt quite call it price gouging, I would label that as rape. But there is nothing chefs can do about it yet.

Edited by inventolux, 24 June 2003 - 05:37 PM.

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:
http://planetgreen.d...tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu
Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant
www.motorestaurant.com

#7 SG-

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 07:30 PM

Does seem like it's about half the price in Japan, looks like I should get my clueless friend to get me a stash, hopefully he gets the right ones.!!

Very confusing variety of metals and tempering styles.... :blink:

#8 JC

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 08:15 AM

When I was working at Charlies, we spent about $250,000.000 a year on fish directly fed-exed from japan. As luck would have it, Masamoto's factory was located next door to the seafood supplier.


Actually there are two Masamoto knifemakers in Tokyo. One located near the fish market at Tsukiji, and the other at Sumida-ward (sold by Korin). I believe they are related family-wise but have split operations.

Edited by JC, 24 July 2003 - 08:17 AM.


#9 JC

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 08:27 AM

SG,

Yes, Japanese knives in Japan are much cheaper than in USA. You can expect to save 30-50%.

Example:

that Glestain 9.4" knife you mentioned (model 724TK).
Korin = $264
Japan = $150

that Nenox S1 9.4" knife you mentioned
Knife Merchant = $279
Korin = $357
Japan = $289 (this is full retail, street price is about 20% off)

Edited by JC, 24 July 2003 - 08:36 AM.


#10 goyatofu

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Posted 27 July 2003 - 10:28 AM

I have a question....where would you go to purchase knives in Japan? (sorry, have been to Japan several times but I wasn't shopping for knives those times). Is there specialty kitchen stores? All I remember is that Tokyu Hands carry Global (but I really don't want to buy Global)

thanks!

#11 torakris

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Posted 27 July 2003 - 02:55 PM

You can buy knives almost anywhere in Japan, heck even 100 yen ($1) stores have them! :biggrin:
Anyplace that has a kitchen goods corner will have knives (supermarket, drugstore, discount shop, etc) and usually in a variety of prices from $5 to up to about $100.
For the pricier stuff, Tokyu Hands actually has a decent selection of various knives, not just global. I bought my Kyocera ceramic there when they were having a sale, but in general they are pricey. If you are looking to get the best price possible try a place like Kappabashi (kitchen goods capital of Tokyo) where all te pros shop, or if you know exactly what knife you are looking for try to find out where their shop is.

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#12 goyatofu

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Posted 27 July 2003 - 09:03 PM

Thanks Kristin,

I'm heading to Osaka and am hoping that I'll be able to find knives at "Doguyasuji" this kitchen street in Namba. Apparently they sell kitchen wares (e.g. plastic food models) and stuff. I've got really small hands and find European chef knives really difficult to handle, I can't wrap my hand completely around the handle, when I chop the end of the handle hits my wrist. I need a knife with a very slim and short handle. Hoping that I'll find a japanese knife with a smaller handle.

http://www.doguyasuji.or.jp/

#13 JC

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 07:40 AM

goyatofu,

Where to buy in Japan? About the same places as in the USA, i.e. department stores (kitchen section), specialty knife stores, etc. Oh, you can find Masamoto at Tokyu Hands!

Osaka is the right place to find Japanese knives. It's smack in the middle of the Sakai region, one of the foremost producers of knives in Japan. In Osaka, Doguyasuji is a good choice. I've been there. There are a handful of shops there that carry knives. I can remember one shop called Yamashita and another called Ichimonji.

Nearby, in Namba there is also a large department store (Takashimaya) that has a decent kitchen department.

Before you shop, it's good to have an idea of what kind of knife you want. If you need some ideas, just ask.

Edited by JC, 29 July 2003 - 07:46 AM.


#14 JC

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 07:49 AM

Kristin,

Just curious, what sort of knives would you typically find in a Japanese kitchen? Are the Japanese more fond of the European imports (like Henckels or Wusthof) or do they stick to the traditional Japanese models like santoku, deba, wabocho, etc.?

What do you use yourself, if you don't mind me asking?

#15 goyatofu

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 01:30 PM

JC,

Thanks for your help! I really appreciate it. Do those stores at Doguyasuji allow you to try the knives? or are they looked up in a display case?

Any recommendations on which brand to buy? Any brands with skinny and short handles?

thanks!

#16 torakris

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 03:12 PM

Kristin,

Just curious, what sort of knives would you typically find in a Japanese kitchen? Are the Japanese more fond of the European imports (like Henckels or Wusthof) or do they stick to the traditional Japanese models like santoku, deba, wabocho, etc.?

What do you use yourself, if you don't mind me asking?

It is hard to generalize about knife use because it really depends on the person but most houses I have cooked in it seems the Japanese santoku is the most common knife and almost every house seems to have a yanagiba as well.

I prefer Western style knives just because it is what I grew up with and am used to using, some day when I have money I would like to purchase some good Japanese knives though. :biggrin:
One of my favorite knives is my paring knife which no one in in Japan seems to use, they have what they refer to as a fruit knife which is a little bit shorter and wider then a steak knife and is immensely popular for small tasks.

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#17 torakris

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 03:13 PM

JC,

Thanks for your help! I really appreciate it. Do those stores at Doguyasuji allow you to try the knives? or are they looked up in a display case?

Any recommendations on which brand to buy? Any brands with skinny and short handles?

thanks!

Japanese knives in general tend to have skinny handles, most likely to fit the smaller Asian hands.

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#18 JC

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Posted 30 July 2003 - 03:43 AM

goyatofu,

The knives are normally in a display case but can be brought out upon request. Like Kristin said you can usually find smaller handles since the knives are "Asian sized".

Recommendations? What sort of knife are you looking for, traditional Japanese or western style (riveted handles with bolster like the German stuff)? Then what type, a santoku, chef's knife, slicer? Lastly, what's your budget?

Edited by JC, 30 July 2003 - 03:45 AM.


#19 JC

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Posted 30 July 2003 - 03:52 AM

[quote name='torakris' date='Jul 30 2003, 06:12 AM'] [quote name='JC' date='Jul 29 2003, 11:49 PM']
It is hard to generalize about knife use because it really depends on the person but most houses I have cooked in it seems the Japanese santoku is the most common knife and almost every house seems to have a yanagiba as well.

I prefer Western style knives just because it is what I grew up with and am used to using, some day when I have money I would like to purchase some good Japanese knives though. :biggrin:
One of my favorite knives is my paring knife which no one in in Japan seems to use, they have what they refer to as a fruit knife which is a little bit shorter and wider then a steak knife and is immensely popular for small tasks. [/quote]
Thanks for the insights. Is the paring knife similar to the what the Japanese call the "petty" knife? What's this fruit knife you mentioned? What do the Japanese call it?

I'm sure you'll enjoy the Japanese knives when you get them. The Japanese have quite a different philosophy when it comes to knives and I especially like the fact that there are many craftsmen who still make them the traditional hand-forged way.

#20 torakris

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Posted 30 July 2003 - 03:01 PM

Thanks for the insights. Is the paring knife similar to the what the Japanese call the "petty" knife? What's this fruit knife you mentioned? What do the Japanese call it?

What the Japanese call a petty knife is basically the same as what we would call a paring knife, though usually longer then the ones I am used to. The fruit knife (actually called furutsu naifu or fruit knife in katakana) is also essentially the same thing but they are cheaper (usually the $5 to $10 range) and are almost always sold with a cover so they are quite portable. These are really all purpose knives and are great (I use them for camping) but I doubt you will find them at any of the speciality knife makers, they tend to be the kind of thing you pick up in a supermarket or drugstore.

picture:
click on the picture to see it better

http://dws.warp.co.j...ode=N27&STRTR=1

Edited by torakris, 30 July 2003 - 03:02 PM.

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#21 Sugar Toad

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Posted 30 July 2003 - 06:52 PM

I'm looking for a high quality Chinese veggie cleaver. Anybody know where to find them in the U.S. I paid 40 yaun ($5) for one in China and I can't come close to it with any of the cleavers I have seen for sale here. :wacko:

Edited by Sugar Toad, 30 July 2003 - 06:53 PM.


#22 goyatofu

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 08:48 PM

Thanks JC and Kristin,

I'm looking for a Asian-size Western Style Chef's knife. :biggrin: My budget would be around $150 Canadian (what one would fork over for an 8" Wustof or Henckles Chef knife)

Any suggestions?

SugarToad,
Chinese Cleavers I would suggest you go shopping in Chinatown, and pick up a wetstone there as well, because it's much cheaper also.

#23 JC

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:12 PM

I'm looking for a high quality Chinese veggie cleaver.  Anybody know where to find them in the U.S.  I paid 40 yaun ($5) for one in China and I can't come close to it with any of the cleavers I have seen for sale here.  :wacko:

You'll be hard pressed to buy a "choy dao" (chinese cleaver) for $5 in USA.

#24 JC

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 10:00 PM

I'm looking for a Asian-size Western Style Chef's knife. :biggrin:  My budget would be around $150 Canadian (what one would fork over for an 8" Wustof or Henckles Chef knife)

Ok, C$150 is about 12,600 yen. A generous budget and will get you a very good Japanese made western style chef's knife (called gyutou).

As I said earlier, Sakai made knives are prevalent in Osaka. You might not find Masamoto there (it's from Tokyo). Also, Sakai emphasizes the traditional Japanese knives but many makers do have a range of gyutou. I can think of two local brands, Sakai Takayuki and Suisin. Web sites below.

http://www.suisin.co...nives/index.htm
http://www2.odn.ne.j...ki/english.html

No doubt there are many more. You can find Sakai Takayuki in Doguyasuji, not sure about Suisin. Also, the Misono UX-10 (from Seki) is very good. The 210mm chef's knife (model 712) runs about 12,000 - 12,500 yen. See here: http://www.oritomo.c...isono_UX10.html

Remember to ask if the knives are stainless steel or carbon steel (which can rust). Here's an example of carbon steel knives: http://www.ehamono.c...gyutou/ao2.html Will need Kristin's help to translate.

Have fun shopping!

#25 JC

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 06:25 PM

goyatofu,

One more thing just crossed my mind, if you really wanted a knife to suit your hand you could approach a custom knife maker. And guess what, there's one or two of them in Canada that make kitchen knives.

George Tichbourne - http://www.tichbourn...com/kitchen.htm
John Freeman - http://www.freemankn...Kitchen K8C.htm

And their prices are in the range that you're looking at. The sites will give you some idea of their line up and prices, but you can email to discuss your specific requirements. To fit my hand just right, a custom knife maker once asked me to send him a photocopy of my hand.

#26 Anchan

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 06:23 AM

(Pleased to meet you all. What a forum of delights!) Japanese knives: I use a *bunka-bocho* for most cooking jobs, i.e. the typical multi-purpose knife with a 6-7 cm (2.5"?) wide blade, pointed at the tip. In Tokyo, you'd buy first-class knives in Kappabashi (near Ueno station), an area where the pros buy their kitchen gear and restaurant interior stuff; or near/in Tsukiji, the huge wholesale (fish) market which, quite by the way, is the most amazing place in all of Tokyo anyway. Go early in the morning, like 7 or 8 am. Or (to return to knives) in one of the knife shops in the Ginza; or in a department store in the Ginza (where prices will be higher, probably).
Ignorant amateur's question: I am about to buy another Japanese knife myself. Friend says to get "molybdenum steel" which reportedly does not rust as easily as carbon steel yet can be sharpened just like carbon steel.
Is that right?

#27 inventolux

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 07:31 AM

There is a uniques way of twisting and turning metal called "damascus steel making". Its the most expensive and highest quality of knifemaking I have seen. The knives are extremely dense and razor sharp. There are a wide range of custom damascus steel producers that make just about any shape of knife. The knives sometimes develop almost a rainbow like effest from the repetetive heating ang cooling of the metal. Check this out and this too.

Edited by inventolux, 04 August 2003 - 07:45 AM.

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:
http://planetgreen.d...tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu
Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant
www.motorestaurant.com

#28 Jinmyo

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 08:53 AM

Anchan, welcome.

Great link, invento.
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#29 inventolux

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 02:21 PM

Ignorant amateur's question: I am about to buy another Japanese knife myself. Friend says to get "molybdenum steel" which reportedly does not rust as easily as carbon steel yet can be sharpened just like carbon steel.
Is that right?

Moly knives are too hard. Its basic physics, if the knife is harder than the sharpening stone then it will take forever to sharpen. Carbon knives nowadays are fairly resistant to rusting as long as you wipe your knife clean and take care of it. The best custom knife forgers always stay away from stainless alloys (like moly) because the knives arent great for retaining a true razor edge. I can literally shave myself with my knives which are all carbon based damascus style knives. They require careful attention but are well worth it in the end. Some of these damascus knife makers actually use a touch of nickel in their mixtures to resist the rusting and it still enables you to have the advantages of carbon steel.
Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:
http://planetgreen.d...tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu
Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant
www.motorestaurant.com

#30 SG-

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 06:37 PM

There is a uniques way of twisting and turning metal called "damascus steel making". Its the most expensive and highest quality of knifemaking I have seen.

I thought damascus knives fall under kasumi forging method which involves the blending of metals with different degrees of hardness. This eases sharpening but does not hold it's edge as long. Whereas the most expensive knives are honyaki forged which is a single hard unblended steel folded many times, similar to japanese swords . Benefit being, a knife that holds an edge longer but is difficult to sharpen without experience. My understanding anyway....

http://www.suisin.co...information.htm
http://www.japanese-...Code=HAR-KA1xxx (aritsugu hongasumi damascus yanagi)