What is the distinction between Japanese Knives versus Western Knives?
These lines boast world-class functionality and style. They are made by combining traditional methods with modern technologies. We may never be able to learn more which one is the best, unless we look at the details of their primary distinction – their blade. Although steel is one of the most important components of a knife, it is not sufficient. To judge a knife’s cutting ability and edge, you have to look at the making process, tradition, and general trends.
Japanese knives typically use harder metal than their western counterparts. They are very lightweight and have excellent balance. These knives feature a sharp edge which indicates their edge-holding strength close to that of the 62-64HRC range of knives. They are much easier to sharpen, and can be re-sharpened with little difficulty. Japanese knives perform better than other cutters due to their thinner edges.
Western knives are made out of softer steel. They typically have a hardness of 54-56HRC. Western knives are much more robust, heavier and have thicker edges which can withstand repeated use. Lower hardness means that the edge can be sharpened more easily than 64HRC. As a result, the edge can dullen from the constant use of the blade. At 67HRC, the highest-end models are even more expensive.
The average western knife has a 40-50 degree edge. Japanese knives can be sharpened at a shorter angle starting at 30 degrees. Some Japanese blades are able to be sharpened from 6 to 8 degrees. This makes the angles even smaller than a regular straight razor.
It is possible to create functional and beautiful kitchen knives by combining both the Japanese and European traditions. Traditional Japanese knives were single-edged with round handles and no grip marks. Now, however, we can see western-style Japanese knives that have western-style grips. We already see ergonomically-sharper and more versatile knives to meet different cutting needs than either the western or Japanese traditional knife.