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Buying Japanese Knives in Japan

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162 replies to this topic

#121 _john

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 05:55 PM

There is a pamphlet about traditional craft industries in Sakai such as incense making, bicycles (Shimano), and knives but there is not much English at the museum itself. The most interesting part for me was the different names and uses of the knives. Some knives had romajii readings but not many.

If you don't want to pay $800 for a knife I really suggest checking out the flea markets in your area. Or if you are traveling in Japan try to go to at least one flea market to look for knives. I bought a very good Sakai deba and yanagi for 1000¥ each recently. They are used of course, but that is just proof that they are good knives.

Is a knife made of Japanese steel, made in China, and sold in America still a Japanese knife? I use the chef's knife from this series more often than any of my other knives, the handle/bolster design is great.

#122 Hiroyuki

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 05:27 AM

My first sashimi slicer:
Posted Image
Kagemitsu(?) (景光 in Kanji) of Kaijirushi (貝印).
Price: 1,970 yen (not 19,700 yen :biggrin: )

I teach myself how to make nigiri zushi.

#123 Gruzia

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 09:25 AM

I recently bought a traditional style japanese knife (usuba). My question is concerning the part of the knife where the metal tang goes into the wooden handle - is it ok for there to be some space there or should that opening completely fit snug around the metal? I don't have my camera with me right now or I'd show what I mean. The knife doesn't move in the handle but I'm concerned that water or veggie juice will get into that space and damage the knife. Am I being paranoid?

edited to add that I got this knife at Union Commerce off Kappabashi street - the salesperson said it was "Kappabashi" brandname - in any case it was the brand that was available for lefties. I also got a 5000 grit waterstone to sharpen it.

Edited by Gruzia, 18 June 2008 - 09:28 AM.


#124 Chad

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 10:25 AM

I recently bought a traditional style japanese knife (usuba).  My question is concerning the part of the knife where the metal tang goes into the wooden handle - is it ok for there to be some space there or should that opening completely fit snug around the metal?  I don't have my camera with me right now or I'd show what I mean.  The knife doesn't move in the handle but I'm concerned that water or veggie juice will get into that space and damage the knife.  Am I being paranoid?


That gap is called the Machi and is perfectly normal on that style of knife. There is a diagram on Shinichi Watanabe's site. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on The picture for measure.

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#125 Prawncrackers

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 02:33 PM

Chad, I think Gruzia means the there's a gap in tang hole of the handle. There shouldn't be a gap, it's just sloppy finishing. The only issue is hygiene, you can fill the gap with resin. Though the question of what kind of resin would probably be better answered in the Kitchen Consumer forum, maybe Chad will know or Bob (Octaveman)

#126 Gruzia

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 09:56 PM

Chad, I think Gruzia means the there's a gap in tang hole of the handle.  There shouldn't be a gap, it's just sloppy finishing.  The only issue is hygiene, you can fill the gap with resin.  Though the question of what kind of resin would probably be better answered in the Kitchen Consumer forum, maybe Chad will know or Bob (Octaveman)

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Thanks for your reply - I'll take the question over to the other forum.

#127 Zachary Tay

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 02:49 AM

I made an inquiry to one specific dealer in Sanjo, and I have just received a reply from him:

Dear xxxx:
I'm Juumi of Hamono No Juumi.
We can ship Shigefusa's products overseas.
We will ship them by EMS international mail.
As you may know, however, we were safe from the Igarashi River bank rip here on July 13, but the workshop of Shigefusa, also known as Tokifusa Iizuka, was flooded above floor level, and cannot resume operation yet.  I think he will start operation around October.
Usually, he needs about 90 days to delivery on a make to order basis.
It is expected that due to this disaster, it will take about one year for the time to delivery to return to normal.
We have some items in stock, and other than those, we have to request you to wait.
We will contact you as soon as your product is finished, and we will ship it after receipt of payment.
We look forward to serving you.
(Translated by me)

***
You can contact the dealer at
webmaster@jumi.co.jp

Dealer's website (Japanese only):
http://www.jumi.co.jp/

View Post



Hi guys,
i went to this site as Hiroyuki suggested but it's all in japanese and for the life of me can't understand a single word. i tried using an online translator but it's not doing a very good job of it.
I.E. i can't order online. and i don't really know who's the knife maker.
i tried getting Shigefusa Hamono's Damascus knives from Japanwoodworker but they are a website in the US and they seem to have run out of stock.
i live in Singapore and i think it's quite stupid to have the knife shipped to the US and then to Singapore!
Could anyone give me a heads up on what options i would have? short of making a trip there myself which is quite difficult too as i don't speak the language!

Edited by Zachary Tay, 11 April 2009 - 02:57 AM.


#128 Hiroyuki

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 04:42 AM

Zachary Tay: I have just sent Juumi an email asking him to make a reply to either you (if in English) or me (if in Japanese).

#129 Zachary Tay

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 12:27 PM

Zachary Tay:  I have just sent Juumi an email asking him to make a reply to either you (if in English) or me (if in Japanese).

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You're a saint Hiroyuki.
i can't thank you enough for taking the time to send the email!

#130 Hiroyuki

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 06:35 AM

I received a reply from Juumi this evening, which said that he seems to have deleted your email inadvertently because he thought it was spam. He says that if you send an email again, he will respond. I would suggest sending an email to both Juumi and me, so I can help Juumi if necessary.

#131 Zachary Tay

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 11:42 AM

I received a reply from Juumi this evening, which said that he seems to have deleted your email inadvertently because he thought it was spam.  He says that if you send an email again, he will respond.  I would suggest sending an email to both Juumi and me, so I can help Juumi if necessary.

View Post


Noted!
i will resend the email however i don't have your email Hiroyuki!
Would it be possible to just send your email to me via private messaging?
Once again Thank you Very much!

Edited by Zachary Tay, 15 April 2009 - 11:44 AM.


#132 Zachary Tay

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 01:25 AM

http://hamono.ocnk.net/product/723


I've been looking around for alternative knives other than Shigefusa Hamono, and i came across this knife. It looks like it Damascus patterned.
Is there anyone who can tell me more about this knife and it's maker? i cannot read Japanese.
the online translator isn't doing a very good job of translating. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Would anyone have any recommendations with regards to a Chef's Knife?
I am a professional Chef looking to invest in, what i regard, as the most important tool any chef can have.

#133 Hiroyuki

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 03:53 AM

OK, some important information from the webpage:

本鍛造ダマスカス鋼 鳳皇琳 パウダーハイス 牛刀210mm 木鞘付き [DHF-210]
販売価格: 36,500円 (税込)
Fully forged Damascus steel Hou-Kou-Lin powder high speed steel gyuto 210 mm, with a wooden sheath [DHF-210]
Sales price: 36,500 yen (tax included)


硬度63〜64HRC
Hardness: 63-64 HRC

食器洗浄器にも対応
Dishwashable

Note: Zachary Tay and I have exchanged emails for weeks, and I have suggested that he make a post here to get help.

#134 Hiroyuki

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 05:06 AM

Apparently, this Damascus steel gyuto by Shigafusa is for export only, because I can't find it in any online knife stores in Japan. Does anyone have any info on this particular knife?

#135 Zachary Tay

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 12:30 PM

after looking though the links u have given me Hiroyuki. i think http://hamono.ocnk.net/product/723 <--- this would be a better buy.

at least i have a clearer indication of what i am buying.
that "export model" hardly has any info that proves useful other than shigefusa's reputation.

#136 Hiroyuki

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 04:04 PM

after looking though the links u have given me Hiroyuki. i think http://hamono.ocnk.net/product/723  <--- this would be a better buy.

at least i have a clearer indication of what i am buying.
that "export model" hardly has any info that proves useful other than shigefusa's reputation.

View Post

If you are interested in this knife, here is one thing to consider: You can have the handle (high compression super water-resistant handle) replaced with a desert iron wood one.

Closeup photo of the desert iron wood:
http://hamono.ocnk.net/zoom/10031

You can see a whole knife with that handle here:
http://blog.goo.ne.j...a1e5dd6d7f6f16e
(BTW, this is the blog of this hardware shop, Kawaguchi Kanamono Ten. Maybe we can post some questions here.)

Has anyone ever experienced using a high speed steel (HSS) knife? It seems to be a good knife (cuts well, wear-resistant, and rust-resistant), but some say it's hard to sharpen because of its hardness.

#137 prasantrin

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 04:50 PM

If you are interested in this knife, here is one thing to consider:  You can have the handle (high compression super water-resistant handle) replaced with a desert iron wood one.

Closeup photo of the desert iron wood:
http://hamono.ocnk.net/zoom/10031

View Post


That is beautiful!

Hiroyuki, do you know much about Seki's knife festival in October? I've been meaning to go, but never have, and since it's my last year in Japan, it's now or never! I know they'll have knife sales, but I have no clue as to what to buy or what to look for (doing my research now).

I'm just wondering if you know of good Seki-specific manufacturers who might be at festival. Any particular knife makers I should be looking out for? (OK, I know it's several months away, but I like to plan ahead!)

#138 Hiroyuki

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 06:02 PM

If you are interested in this knife, here is one thing to consider:  You can have the handle (high compression super water-resistant handle) replaced with a desert iron wood one.

Closeup photo of the desert iron wood:
http://hamono.ocnk.net/zoom/10031

View Post


That is beautiful!

Hiroyuki, do you know much about Seki's knife festival in October? I've been meaning to go, but never have, and since it's my last year in Japan, it's now or never! I know they'll have knife sales, but I have no clue as to what to buy or what to look for (doing my research now).

I'm just wondering if you know of good Seki-specific manufacturers who might be at festival. Any particular knife makers I should be looking out for? (OK, I know it's several months away, but I like to plan ahead!)

View Post

Why ask me? I'm not very interested in expensive knives. Anyway, this list of manufacturers at the hamono festival last year may be useful:
http://www.sekicci.o...hamono/mise.htm
which includes Kai Jirushi, Masahiro, and Misono among others.

#139 prasantrin

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 06:23 PM

Why ask me?  I'm not very interested in expensive knives.  Anyway, this list of manufacturers at the hamono festival last year may be useful:
http://www.sekicci.o...hamono/mise.htm
which includes Kai Jirushi, Masahiro, and Misono among others.

View Post


I just assumed from your participation in this topic (particularly the information you've posted, not just that you're particpating) that you were knowledgeable in this particular area. No harm no foul.

Thanks for the list! I'll do more research.

ETA--if anyone else has any Seki-specific manufacturers they'd recommend for a reasonably priced santoku (less than $150), I'd be happy to hear them!

Edited by prasantrin, 25 April 2009 - 06:34 PM.


#140 Zachary Tay

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 07:35 AM

well Hiroyuki suggested posting here, in the hopes of someone being able to assist me.
so far im still kinda waiting. hahaha hopefully not in vain.

#141 Hiroyuki

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 10:06 PM

Now you have several options:

1. Go ahead and buy the Shigefusa Damascus gyuto, the one that you initially wanted to buy.
You can always send them an inquiry, asking for detailed information, including exact specifications, right?

2. If you still want to have a Shigefusa knife, other than the one above,
get the 126,000-yen, "kitaeji" gyuto from Juumi:
http://www.jumi.co.j...ge/sfkigyu.html
or the cheaper, 65,100-yen "kasumi" gyoto from Juumi:
http://www.jumi.co.j...mage/sfgyu.html
Note that neither of them is a Damascus, which means they require regular maintenance because otherwise they will rust.

Kitaeji vs. kasumi:
A kitaeji knife is much more expensive than a kasumi one (about twice as expensive).

A kitaeji blade looks like this:
http://www.thehamono...taeji_usuba.htm
Another photo:
http://www.frkw.com/index068.html
See the second one from the top.

I have found several online stores that sell Shigefusa knives, but none of them carries Shigefuza gyuto, except Juumi's.
For example, Kawaguchi Kanamono Ten carries these Shigefusa knives
http://hamono.ocnk.n...roduct-list/163
But, no gyuto.

3. Forget about Shigefusa and buy that HSS knife, mentioned upthread, or any other gyuto you find appropriate.

#142 Hiroyuki

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 01:20 AM

Zachary Tay:
Have you checked out this webpage?
http://www.geocities...usa_Gyutou.html

#143 Hiroyuki

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 03:27 AM

And this one:
http://www.aframestokyo.com/index.html
which lists Shigefusa chef's knives:
http://www.aframesto...ainventory.html
I have one question for experts:
Is Damascus the same as kitaeji??

#144 Zachary Tay

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 09:00 AM

well the one from japanwoodworker has thoroughly disappointed me. i ordered it like 2 yrs ago and just 2 months ago they sent me an email saying they are cancelling my order as they are unsure of when they will have stock ( sounds to me like they are doing this because the exchange rate is unfavourable for them right now ) The customer service personnel who replied my emails don't have any product knowledge at all.
hence my search elsewhere

http://hamono.ocnk.n...roduct-list/163

the 2nd knife on the list looks like a Gyuto but then again i can't read Japanese lol

http://www.geocities...usa_Gyutou.html

i've checked out this webpage already but i find it very fishy that there isnt a price tag on the blade. he pretty much can quote wuteva price he wants to quote. can he? anyway i'll give it a try. see what response i get.

i haven't gotten a reply from Juumi as of yet. wonder what's happened to him.

Also, the HSS Chef's Knife is just Damascus patterned isn't it?

i can't thank you enough Hiroyuki for just translating all that!

#145 Hiroyuki

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 01:32 PM

well the one from japanwoodworker has thoroughly disappointed me. i ordered it like 2 yrs ago and just 2 months ago they sent me an email saying they are cancelling my order as they are unsure of when they will have stock ( sounds to me like they are doing this because the exchange rate is unfavourable for them right now ) The customer service personnel who replied my emails don't have any product knowledge at all.
hence my search elsewhere

http://hamono.ocnk.n...roduct-list/163

the 2nd knife on the list looks like a Gyuto but then again i can't read Japanese lol

http://www.geocities...usa_Gyutou.html

i've checked out this webpage already but i find it very fishy that there isnt a price tag on the blade. he pretty much can quote wuteva price he wants to quote. can he? anyway i'll give it a try. see what response i get.

i haven't gotten a reply from Juumi as of yet. wonder what's happened to him.

Also, the HSS Chef's Knife is just Damascus patterned isn't it?

i can't thank you enough Hiroyuki for just translating all that!

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Sorry, it's a deba, not a gyuto.

The webpage says the HSS chef's knife is a Damascus steel knife. Every Damascus knife is just Damascus patterned, isn't it? Real Damascus steel has never been reproduced!

#146 Hiroyuki

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 09:56 PM

i haven't gotten a reply from Juumi as of yet. wonder what's happened to him.

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I will send him another reminder, probably in a day or two, but in the meantime, if you have decided which one to buy, just let me know.

#147 Zachary Tay

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 10:03 PM

no worries Hiroyuki.
i waited 2 yrs for a proper knife. i can wait a little more.
on a side note... the HSS knife. does the website say who crafted it?

#148 Hiroyuki

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 10:11 PM

no worries Hiroyuki.
i waited 2 yrs for a proper knife. i can wait a little more.
on a side note... the HSS knife. does the website say who crafted it?

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No, I guess that the brand, Hou-Kou-Lin (鳳皇琳), is that of the hardware store, Kawaguchi Kanamono Ten.

#149 Zachary Tay

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 01:30 AM

oh dear me.
i just did an experiment and tried to order the HSS knife at http://hamono.ocnk.net/product/723

it seems to me that they don't deliver overseas!
lol there goes another option.

#150 Hiroyuki

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 03:15 AM

oh dear me.
i just did an experiment and tried to order the HSS knife at http://hamono.ocnk.net/product/723

it seems to me that they don't deliver overseas!
lol there goes another option.

View Post

Probably they don't. But that's where I come in. If you are serious about getting it from that shop, just let me know. I'll write to them, asking them to deliver it to you by EMS or by any other appropriate means.





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