Art,craft & Homewares

Elegant kitchen cutlery of Japan!

2015.11.18

Elegant Japanese kitchen cutlery: see the skill of seasoned blade artisans for yourself


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At Ginza Mitsukoshi, we carry kitchen knives from various brands, including Nihonbashi KIYA, ZWILLING and KAI.

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Just each country has its own unique ingredients and recipes, their knives also come in a variety of distinctive shapes and forms.

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The double-edge cooking blade design, which is commonly seen in households today, originally comes from Europe. Thanks to the versatile dual-edge design, these knives are handy when you want to cut straight into something, and they also can also be used to efficiently perform a wide range of tasks ranging from slicing meat to chopping vegetables and cutting fish--all with a single tool!

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Since ancient times, Japanese people have enjoyed the intrinsic, untarnished flavors of various ingredients, which is why they place such high value on aesthetically beautiful cuts. Japanese knifes are made using a combination of iron and steel in order to achieve sharp cutting edges and high hardness. In recent years, kitchen knives are often made using rivets to hold the handle assembly together; in contrast, traditional Japanese knives do not use rivets, instead having their blades driven directly into the handle portion itself. Furthermore, the cutting edges on Japanese knives can be restored through sharpening to enable longer usage.

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Traditional Japanese kitchen cutlery includes deba-bocho fish-cutting knives, sashimi-bocho for slicing raw seafood (sashimi), nakiri-bocho vegetable knives and other types designed for specific purposes. Sashimi-bocho feature long blades to enable cutting of fish and other seafood in a single stroke, which mitigates damage to the flesh and cells within for a more delicious-tasting end product.

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Japan's four most well-known knife production centers include Takefu in Fukui Prefecture, Sanjo in Niigata Prefecture, Seki in Gifu Prefecture and Sakai in Osaka Prefecture, and history shows that most producers in these areas were originally swordmakers. The techniques employed by these former swordsmiths are still alive today in Japanese kitchen knives.

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The blade patterns seen here are known as Damascus steel patterns: dozens of layers of iron and steel are folded over one another to bring the elegant line patterns to the surface. Due to the toughness and beauty of their blades, Damascus swords have been preserved and passed down as heirlooms in royal families.

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Some Japanese knives feature suminagashi, which are gorgeous blade marbling patterns similar to those found on Damascus blades. Each suminagashi pattern differs one from the other, making every finished product the only one of its kind in the world.

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Ceramic blades, which are popular due to their light weight and cutting performance, have become widespread in recent years. In contrast to their metal counterparts, ceramic knives don't rust or absorb odors--features that have bolstered their popularity on the market.

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What do you value most: Ease of use? An aesthetically pleasing cut? The design of the knife itself? At Ginza Mitsukoshi, we offer a wide range of kitchen cutlery, encompassing everything from traditional Japanese knives to Western and Chinese cutlery. Come down and have a look for yourself--we are confident you will find a knife that suits you!

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