There are many types of traditional Japanese knives, in particular, fish knives, since fish are a major part of the staple diet in Japan.
Japanese chefs, usually, have three or four knives, each for different ingredients and tasks.
The most common types are shown below.
Traditional Japanese Knives
A slicing knife with a long, thin blade, used to cut fish fillets into sashimi.
Also a variation of Yanagiba. The blade is thinner and narrower, designed to make thin extremely slices of fish fillets, such as blowfish (fugu) and Japanese flounder (hirame).
A variation of Yanagiba. The square tip cuts tough ingredients, such as octopus (tako). Takohiki is now less popular than Yanagi.
A heavy, powerful butcher knife with a thick-spine. This is an essential knife for cutting and filleting fish and butchering meat without bones.
A vegetable knife with a thin, rectangular blade. Usuba means “thin cutting edge.” It is an essential knife for peeling vegetables into thin sheets, like “Katsuramuki”, and cutting them into thin strips, like “Sengiri.”
A Kansai style Usuba knife with a round tip.
Most popular and essential knife for chefs. The blade of the chef knife is narrower than the santoku knife, and the tip is more curved. Common Blade length: 21cm (8.2”)
An all-purpose knife with a round tip. It is suitable for home-cooking. Santoku literally means “three virtues” – slicing, dicing, and mincing. Common Blade length: 18cm (7.0”)
Most popular and essential knife for chefs. The blade of the chef knife is narrower than the santoku knife, and the tip is more curved. Common Blade length.
A poultry boning knife. It is mainly used to break apart whole chickens.
A small version of Garasuki, a boning knife, sometimes called “Sabaki.” It is used to separate meat from bones.
This small knife is suitable for cutting fruits and smaller ingredients. Easy to manipulate.Common blade length: 120mm – 150mm for petty knives.
A Western-style Deba knife, but double-edge.