Who Uses Santoku Knives and Why?

Santoku means “three virtues” in Japan where Santoku knives originate. The three virtues in this case refer to the three tasks the Santoku knife was meant to perform: slicing, dicing and mincing.

Santoku knives can most closely be compared to western Chefs knives and are used in similar situations. The Santoku is generally shorter and lighter than the Chef’s knife, although both are offered in a variety of sizes. The blades themselves are thinner and less pointed at the tip than the Western Chef’s knife. Some have compared it to a narrow cleaver and like it for its full blade usage.

Design oem knife manufacturers 

Santoku knives come in multiple sizes, most typically five to eight inches. The non-cutting edge is flat, while the cutting edge is what’s known as a Sheep’s foot blade which curves in resulting in a near 60-degree tip. The top of the handle aligns with the top or flat edge, of the blade.

The “Sheep’s foot” tip provides a more linear cutting edge than a Chef’s knife which limits “rocking” motion. Instead users of Santoku knives find “chopping” motions more successful. This knife depends on a firm downward cut, even traveling from heel to tip, rather than the other way around as is the habit of many using Chef’s knives.

The Santoku is considered one of the most well-balanced Japanese knives. The blade is designed to match the handle and tang both in width and in weight, allowing them to work in perfect harmony.


Western kitchen knives have a sharpness or blade angle of 40 to 45 degrees. Japanese knives typically differ in that they sharpen to a chisel tip. In other words they are sharpened to a much sharper degree on one side where Western knives feature bilateral cutting edges. Santoku knives are a hybrid; they have incorporated the Western bilateral edge but maintained the Japanese traditional 12 to 15 degree blade angle.

To maintain this sharp an edge, hardened steel is a critical ingredient of all Japanese knives, including the Santoku. The helps maintain the sharpness and mitigate blade rolling. Of course, hardened and very thin steel has a higher risk of chipping, so proper storage and care is even more important with these fine knives.

Santoku knives, therefore, maintain their sharpness longer so require less maintenance than Western knives. Western knives are easier to sharpen for the average user, which is good because they’ll have to be sharpened more often.



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