Honyaki and Kasumi

Honyaki Knife Set_HG0430RWK_White#1

There are two grades of traditional Japanese knives, Honyaki “true-forge” and Kasumi “mist”. These grades are defined by the materials and the forging methods.


Honyaki Knives (本焼)

Blade of Honyaki knife

Honyaki knives are the highest quality traditional Japanese knives, forged solely from one material, high-carbon steel (“Hagane”). This can be “Shiro-hanage” (White steel) or “Ao-hagane” (Blue steel). 

The construction method used to make Honyaki knives is similar to that used to make traditional Japaneses words, which is a very difficult and long process. It requires the precise techniques of skilled and experienced craftsmen. 

Blades of Honyaki knives are hard, so they retain its sharpness for a long time; however, blades are brittle and prone to chipping. Also they are difficult to sharpen.

Kasumi Knives (霞)

Kasumi knives are made from two materials by joining a piece of soft iron (Jigane) with a piece of high-carbon steel; the carbon steel forms the blade’s edge, and the soft iron forms the body and spine of the blade.

Some people call Kasumi “awase” (which literally means ‘to combine).

Construction of the blade

Kasumi knives are less expensive than Honyaki knives and are easier to use and sharpen. Masamoto-Sohonten makes a high grade of Kasumi knives, called “Hongasumi.

Difference of the blades of honyaki and kasumi
Construction of the blade of Hongasumi

Hongasumi Knives (本霞)

Masamoto Hongasumi Yanagi with a saya

At Masamoto-Sohonten, the knives made by the Kasumi method from blue steel (Ao-gami) and white steel(Shiro-gami) are called “Hongasumi”. 

Hongasumi knives are constructed in the same way as Kasumi knives. However, the quality of steel used is often higher, and more processes and work are required for its construction than Kasumi knives.

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