The secret of Japanese knives Honyaki-Honyaki and Kasumi-Kasumi (not the brand)

The secret of Japanese knives Honyaki-Honyaki and Kasumi-Kasumi (not the brand)
  • The secret of Japanese knives Honyaki-Honyaki and Kasumi-Kasumi (not the brand)


  • When shopping for new kitchen knives, you'll likely come across the words Honyaki and Kasumi (it's not about the brand) in the names and descriptions of high-end and consumer knives. With the websites of a growing number of knife makers popping up, you might be wondering if the flashy words Honyaki and Kasumi are just attempts to wow customers with a taste of "authentic" Japanese.
  • In fact, the difference is serious - Honyaki and Kasumi knives are two very different things. This difference starts with the materials and methods used in the forging, ending with the level of maintenance required by each owner. Neither is stainless and both feature high-grade carbon steel, with the difference in grade and composition of these carbon steels setting them apart. Finally, the biggest and perhaps most easily recognizable difference between these two types of Japanese kitchen knives is their price. While cheaper Kasumi knives range in price from around BGN 250-700.., a real Honyaki kitchen knife in full size will cost over BGN 2000..
  • A quality Japanese kitchen knife should last you a lifetime. Your goal should be to get the legendary, unmatched performance that this country's blades are known for. So before you open your wallet, set aside a budget and invest in what is sure to become the most important tool in your kitchen, we need to answer the following questions:
  • Why is a Honyaki knife so expensive?
  • When is it worth the extra cost to buy?
  • What should you know before choosing between the two types?
  • Finally, is it possible that an affordable Kasumi multi-layer steel mixed steel knife can surpass the world's most exclusive and expensive Honyaki!

 

  • Let's take a look.
  • Honyaki Japanese kitchen knives:
  • The best kitchen knife in the world is Honyaki. Honyaki knives are considered the closest to the swords of ancient Japan. Made from a single, pure piece of steel that has been selected, forged by only the most skilled artisans and entirely by hand. Honyaki knives offer unmatched levels of hardness throughout the blade. For all the time, effort and materials that go into just one Honyaki blade, the user has to pay a hefty price. These are the most expensive Japanese knives on the market. As a result, they bear some of the most distinct marks and characteristics of this ancient technology. Still, the exceptional craftsmanship, rarity, price, and maintenance required of Honyaki blades can make their purchase difficult to justify for some of us who don't work in a Michelin-starred sushi bar or a traditional Japanese kitchen.
  • Sometimes called mono steel, Honyaki knives are made from only one type of pure steel. Non-laminated, unified, the single steel section includes the core, cutting edge and back of the knife. Using only the finest steel throughout the blade, production costs are high from the start. With Tamahagane steel, Shiro-hagane white steel or Ao-hagane blue steel, only the most senior, experienced craftsmen from Japan's best knife workshops undertake to make Honyaki, the most difficult and expensive knives. The process is very close to the ancient art of making Japanese samurai swords. The knife will be of equally high quality, high carbon steel that has been carefully heated and forged into the shape of the blade. For the most expensive variants, the craftsman carefully and differentially tempers the blade by cooling it in water several times during this process. The result is a very hard center or spine for its body and a relatively softer outer part with which to make the pointed edge. Whether water or oil tempered, the uniform composition of Honyaki knives makes them the hardest on the market. It is this hardness that allows for the thinnest cutting edges with the steepest (sharpest) angles, resulting in the sharpest and most precise cut possible.
  • This is the pinnacle of Japanese swordsmanship. Moreover, due to the high temperature, difficult tempering methods, and lack of any flexibility of these mono-steel blades, even the best knives lose many blades to cracks and breaks along the way of forging. This high chance of failure drives prices up further, as the rarity of Honyaki knives increases with each broken blade.
  • The unparalleled hardness that a successful forge is able to produce - that which generations of samurai and warlords have staked their lives on in battle is a great responsibility. Maintaining Honyaki blades is greatly complicated by the fact that this high-grade steel—"pure" in the sense that it does not include the chromium alloy that makes the steel stainless—is highly susceptible to rust and other corrosion. Sharpening one can take up to an hour of continuous and careful sliding on a specialized and carefully maintained stone. I didn't allow it No electric hand grinders with abrasives are allowed! With its high hardness, it means that Honyaki knives will cut meat or vegetables into very thin slices unlike anything you've ever seen. Honyaki knives are not suitable for cutting and cutting bones of any kind. Finally, their incredible rigidity means they won't bend. One misplaced pressure on the board or an accidental bump into the drawer can crack or even break these knives in half!
  • Yet, because of their incredible cutting ability, as well as the respect and honor these exclusive knives hold, you gain respect from your peers. Many of the best chefs in the world have chosen the traditional and rare Japanese Honyaki kitchen knife!. The question you have to ask yourself is whether you can justify the money, time and attention these ancient blades require. There are quite a few owners of Honyaki knives who have never used them or use them very rarely, but have them in their collection to feel the spirit and history of Japan.
  • Finally, knowing what the legendary and expensive Honyaki knives are, don't expect to find one at a discounted or suspiciously low price. If the price seems too good to be true, something is definitely not right! Beware of casual use of the word Honyaki, especially by foreign knife makers looking to break into the market by using catchy Japanese words. Genuine Honyaki knives are never mass produced!

 

  • Mass-produced Kasumi knives are a cost-effective and modern cousin of the Honyaki.
  • Wherever you see Honyaki knives, you're likely to see a much wider variety of Kasumi blades at much more affordable prices. Kasumi knives are named after the hazy appearance of their outer layering. That's right, unlike the mono-steel, uniform body of Honyaki knives, Kasuml knives have more than one layer of steel! This is the first and most important difference. By blending steels, craftsmen can reduce not only the cost of production, but also the difficulty and duration such as the time required to forge them.

 

  • But how does Kasumi knives compare to Honyaki knives?
  •   Recently, a number of experts have noted that a technological breakthrough in the production of high-quality composite "mild steels" has provided Japan's top kitchen knife makers with alternatives to the expensive white and blue steels used in the production of Honyaki knives. Thus, by using the hardest steel to make only the central core of the blade or the cutting edge, they can apply one or more layers of various other, softer steels around it to make a light base for an easy to sharp edge management. This way, you have all the benefits of the hard, strong body of the Honyaki, without the worry of breaking or chipping easily, thanks to the use of relatively mild steel around the core of the blade. You will notice this layering immediately as it results in one or more clearly visible lines above the cutting edge. Having moved on to the more affordable stainless steel knives, these multi-layer knives (their two-piece or multi-piece variants, sometimes called San Mal) are certainly the most popular high-performance kitchen knives.
  • Unlike Honyaki's mono-steel bodies, these layered knives can be repaired if broken, warped or chipped. In addition, the softer outer steel is easier to sharpen, making the Kasumi knife much more suitable for the home cook as well as the professional kitchen. With all the greatest features of Japan's historic knife making traditions, it is likely that the Kasumi knife will suit your needs as a hobbyist or professional chef better than the ultra-specialized Honyaki variant.

 

  • Which one is for your kitchen?
  • Easier to store, maintain, purchase and appreciate, Japanese Kasumi multi-layered knives continue to perform at a high level in homes and professional kitchens around the world. Yet, the mono-steel Honyaki looms in the distance, beckoning you with its historic craftsmanship, rarity, and ultra-exclusive price. Remember, almost anyone can put the word "Honyaki" on a blade these days. The best authentic knifemakers will be able to carefully explain what makes their Honyaki stand out, and the quickest way to identify a fake is the price. Because of all the blood, sweat and tears that their best craftsmen have poured into these knives, no shop will part with their Honyaki knives at a discount. If the price seems too good, skip this store.
  • Remembering what we've learned here today about the care and respect these knives demand from their owners, it's important to think carefully before choosing a Honyaki knife.
  • Due to recent developments in forging techniques and technology, Kasumi knives in some cases perform as well, if not better, than pure steel Honyaki knives. Considering the dramatic price difference, as well as your own level of experience in using and maintaining knives of such a high caliber, you may find that the Kasumi mixed steel knife is the more cost-effective and useful option. With the right knowledge, you're sure to find the right kitchen partner you can count on for a lifetime of high-end performance.


  • JK-Knives is the best choice where you can buy and order traditional Japanese Honyaki and Kasumi kitchen knives. We only sell selected authentic products that have the true spirit of Japanese craftsmanship. We offer products based on fair prices, which are worth the effort and value of experienced craftsmen, and we take into account the purchasing power of Bulgarian culinary and professional chefs.

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