The performance and quality required of knives vary depending on culinary culture, and the expectations placed on Sugimoto knives.

The performance and quality required of knives vary depending on culinary culture, and the expectations placed on Sugimoto knives.

Knives are essential tools for cooking, so their value is determined by their utility in preparing traditional foods. This is why required shapes and characteristics, such as sharpness, vary between countries. First of all, the shapes: Chinese knives have a distinctive appearance, characterized by a large, rectangular blade. On the other hand, Japanese knives are unique in that they come in a wide variety of shapes, from very long to short and from narrow to wide in width/height. Second, the level of sharpness: Japanese knives are particularly known for their world-renowned sharpness.

Why the differences? And why do Japanese knives come in a variety of shapes and possess exceptional sharpness? From the perspective of our more than two centuries of service to professional and home chefs, let us focus on the reasons behind the sharpness of Japanese knives in this column post.

In a country where people typically cook meat with bones, one of the demanded characteristics would be the knives' strength in cutting through meat and bones, as observed when chefs chop steamed chicken into pieces at Chinese restaurants.

On the other hand, in Japanese traditional culinary cultures like sashimi and sushi, chefs focus on precision cutting skills to complete dishes. This necessitates the renowned sharpness found in Japanese traditional knives.

In our two centuries of serving professional and home chefs, we have searched and found the right materials and have continually honed our artisanal skills to achieve the sharpness sought after by chefs, our esteemed customers.

However, sharpness comes with the necessary knowledge for chefs on how these knives are made and how to use them. 

To achieve exceptional sharpness, we must choose harder materials for blades. This can lead to a trait of being more prone to cracking on the edges. Professional chefs, especially, are aware that knives with exceptionally sharp blades may have this trait. Because we have exchanged knowledge of materials and this trait through more than two centuries of discussions and collaboration, the chefs know what not to do with these knives. It has become a mutual understanding between them and us.

It is now an unspoken knowledge for both professional and home chefs in Japan that sharpness comes with the risk of easier cracking on the edges. However, for our relatively newer customers from overseas, this trait may not be shared enough. This is why we have decided to write this column post.

To make the most of our knives and have them become your lifelong partner, understanding Japanese culinary culture can be helpful. In this culture, both professional and home chefs are not primarily required to cut through meat and bones but are mainly tasked with slicing relatively softer fish meat, as seen in sashimi and sushi, compared to chicken, pork, and beef.
We sincerely hope you enjoy their exceptional sharpness, understanding the culinary culture and usage of these fine tools.

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