Japanese knives - General information


If you take care of your hand made Japanese knives it will give you exceptional service for generations. Wash it, and dry it with a soft towel after use. Store it dry in it's "Saya" or on a wooden magnet list. Never place your knife in a dishwasher or kitchen drawer with other kitchen tools.  


Sakai Japanese Knives offers a verity of hand sharpening serves. You can find information and pricing for each service in the left menu.  We also sell the high quality sharpening stones and stone holders in our web shop.

Single Bevel


The single bevel is unique to Japanese handmade knives. Some factory made knives have unsuccessfully tried to imitate it. The edge is sharper and stronger. The cut will feel different than a western knife, but it is easy to learn.

The single bevel refers to the overall geometry of the knife and the sharpening angle on the cutting side. A Japanese knife has a more complicated geometry than a western knife, which typical has equal bevels on both sides of the blade.

The handmade single bevel Japanese knife can have five or more angles, all with its specific purpose. The precision in the angles has been developed over centuries and it was the Japanese that developed the “micro” bevel to straighten the edge. It is an important part of the blades edge and a craft that it takes years to master.

To satisfy the western market, factories have started to develop western knifes with a semi stainless steel and a 50/50 bevel.

The knowledge of true Japanese knife making is diminishing as the old masters pass away. Sakai Japanese knives are proud to share the sophisticated traditions of the Sakai knife maker.

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Chemical make up of a blade

Master Hideaki works with a strict specification for the steel to each type of knife. He has developed a relationship with his blacksmiths, and each smith has specialized in a particular steel. Master Hideaki also has a relationship with Swedish steel. When developing a semi stainless, high carbon steel, only the Swedish steelmakers could meet up to his standards with a consistent and exact blending. This is one of the reasons we can offer his knives in Scandinavia.




Steel Elements Components % Hardening Tempering HRC
Blue No. 1 C, Si, Mn, P, S, Cr, W 1.40-1.200.1-0.20.2-0.3 Water & Oil 160-230 60 or more
Blue No. 2 C, Si, Mn, P, S, Cr, W 1.20-1.00.1-0.20.2-0.3 Water & Oil 160-230 60 or more
White No. 1 C, Si, Mn, P, S  1.4-1.20.1-0.20.2-0.3 Water 180-220 60 or more
White No. 2 C, Si, Mn, P, S 1.2-1.00.1-0..20.2-0.3 Water 180-220 60 or more

This is an general chemical make up of the main steels used in JAPANESE knive making.  


White No. 1 and Blue No. 1 contains more carbon = longer edge retention, a bit more fragile then then the No. 2 steels. 

Tungsten and Chromium are added to Blue steel.


The Hide knives are made of white or blue steel. The white steel is a pure high carbon steel. It will patina, and if left damp for long periods of time it will rust. In the Nordic countries, with low humidity, this is rarely a problem. Simply remember to wipe the blade before storage. A light dusting of oil will protect the blade form patina, although many cooks prefer a patina.

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Sharpen a blade


All single beveled handmade Japanese knives are made of laminated steel. A softer, more flexible steel supports the harder steel edge. It makes for a more stable knife that is easier to sharpen.

Japanese knives should only be sharpened on a flat stone. It is not difficult to learn, and with a little practice, you can maintain the edge well.

Sakai Japanese Knives will be offering sharpening seminars later this fall, and develop pedagogic material, and sell accessories to help you with maintenance of your own knifes. In the mean time please fell free to contact us.