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Knife Series: What is a Sujihiki Knife?

  • By: Kitchen Informant
  • Date: January 23, 2024
A Sujihiki Knife on a wooden cutting board surrounded by sliced ingredients.

What is a Sujihiki Knife? A Guide to Understanding this Japanese Kitchen Essential



What is a Sujihiki Knife? A Guide to Understanding this Japanese Kitchen Essential. A Sujihiki knife is a type of Japanese knife that is used for slicing boneless meats, fish, and vegetables. The name Sujihiki literally translates to “flesh slicer” in English.

It is a long, narrow knife with double-bevel slicing, making it easier to cut through meat with as little friction as possible.

Unlike other Japanese knives, the Sujihiki knife has a shorter height, allowing the user to slice through meat and fish precisely.

It has a thin blade that is sharper than its Western equivalents, which makes it ideal for thinly carving raw or cooked meat.

The Sujihiki knife is also suitable for making sushi and sashimi due to its precise cutting ability.

Overall, the Sujihiki knife is an essential tool for any chef or home cook who wants to achieve precise cuts when preparing meat or fish dishes.

Its unique design and sharpness make it a must-have in any kitchen.

Sujihiki Knife: An Overview


A Sujihiki knife is a Japanese-style slicing knife with a long, narrow blade and a sharp edge. It is designed for slicing boneless meats, fish, and vegetables.

The term “Sujihiki” literally translates to “flesh slicer” in Japanese, accurately describing the knife’s purpose.

Compared to other Japanese knives, the Sujihiki knife has a shorter height, which allows the user to slice through food with as little friction as possible.

This makes it ideal for thinly carving raw or cooked meat and slicing away terrines and pates. The long, narrow blade of the Sujihiki knife is perfect for making precise cuts and ensuring that each slice is uniform in thickness.

Sujihiki knives are typically made from high-quality steel, which allows for a sharper edge and better edge retention.

The blade is usually between 240mm and 300mm long, although some models can be longer. The knife’s handle is typically shorter than the blade, allowing for better control when slicing through food.

One of the unique features of the Sujihiki knife is that it has a double-bevel edge, which means that both sides of the blade are sharpened to form a V-shape.

This differs from traditional Japanese knives, which typically have a single-bevel edge. The double-bevel edge of the Sujihiki knife makes it easier to use for those who are accustomed to Western-style knives.

The Sujihiki knife is a versatile and essential tool for any serious home cook or professional chef. Its long, narrow blade and sharp edge make it ideal for slicing boneless meats, fish, and vegetables with precision and ease.

Origin and History of Sujihiki Knife


The Sujihiki knife is a Japanese knife that has gained popularity recently due to its versatility in the kitchen. The name Sujihiki literally translates to “flesh slicer,” which clearly indicates its primary function.

The exact history of the Sujihiki knife is a mystery. Still, it is believed that Japanese blacksmiths took inspiration from either Western carving knives or Japanese Yanagiba knives, usually used for cutting vegetables.

The Sujihiki knife is an evolution of the Yanagiba knife, making it more accessible by morphing the Yanagiba into a double-beveled slicing tool.

Traditionally, professional chefs used the Sujihiki knife to slice raw fish and meat for sashimi and sushi. Its long and narrow blade allowed chefs to make precise cuts without damaging the delicate texture of the fish.

Over time, the Sujihiki knife has become more popular among home cooks due to its versatility.

Its long, narrow blade makes it perfect for slicing large cuts of meat, such as roasts or hams, and its double-beveled edge allows it to be used by both right and left-handed individuals.

Today, the Sujihiki knife is an essential tool in many kitchens worldwide. Its unique design and functionality make it a favorite among professional chefs and home cooks.

Design and Features of Sujihiki Knife


The Sujihiki knife is a Japanese kitchen knife used for slicing boneless proteins. It has a unique design, with features that make it stand out from other knives.

Blade Characteristics


The blade of the Sujihiki knife is long and narrow, often measuring 210mm to 360mm long. The length of the blade depends on the user’s preference, with the most common choices being 240mm, 270mm, and 300mm.

The shortest blades are easy to use, but it becomes harder to control the knife as the length of the blade increases. The spine width of the blade is thin, and the minimal height of the blade reduces friction, allowing for clean cuts.

The blade is designed for use with a slicing motion, which involves pulling the blade smoothly through the food in a long, continuous motion.

Handle Design


The Sujihiki knife has a handle designed to be light in weight relative to the blade. This helps move the balancing point further down the blade, making the pinching grip the grip to give the wielder complete control of the knife.

The handle is often a half-tang handle or a “wa” handle. The handle butt or Ejiri is usually made of a different material than the handle itself, which provides a comfortable grip.

In summary, the Sujihiki knife has a unique design makes it stand out from other utensils. Its long and narrow blade, thin spine width, and minimal height reduce friction, allowing for clean cuts.

The handle is designed to be light in weight relative to the blade, with a comfortable grip that provides complete control of the knife.

Usage and Functionality of Sujihiki Knife

Food Preparation


The Sujihiki knife is essential for professional chefs and home cooks who want to make precise cuts of meat, fish, and vegetables. Its long, thin blade allows quick, clean cuts without tearing or shredding the food.

This knife is ideal for preparing sashimi, sushi, and other dishes that require precise cuts. The Sujihiki knife is also great for trimming fat and skin from meat and filleting fish.

Slicing Techniques


The slicing technique is one of the most important things to remember when using a Sujihiki knife. The knife’s long, thin blade is designed for making smooth, continuous slices through food.

To do this, the user should hold the knife at a slight angle and use a gentle sawing motion.

The goal is to create slices that are as thin and even as possible. It is also important to keep the blade sharp, as a dull knife can cause the food to tear or shred.

Another important technique when using a Sujihiki knife is to use the entire blade length.

This knife is designed for making long, sweeping cuts, so the user should use the full length of the blade to make each cut. This will help create smooth, even slices perfect for presentation.

Overall, the Sujihiki knife is essential for any chef or home cook who wants to make precise, clean cuts of meat, fish, and vegetables.

With its long, thin blade and precise slicing techniques, this knife is perfect for preparing sashimi, sushi, and other dishes that require precise cuts.

A Sujihiki Knife on a dark wooden surface with cherry tomatoes next to it.

How to Care for a Sujihiki Knife


Caring for a Sujihiki knife is essential to ensure that it lasts a long time and remains in excellent condition.

Proper cleaning and maintenance and sharpening are necessary to keep the blade sharp and prevent rust or damage.

Cleaning and Maintenance


To clean a Sujihiki knife:

  1. Use warm water and mild soap.
  2. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads that can scratch the blade’s surface.
  3. After washing, dry the blade with a soft cloth immediately to prevent water spots or rust.

Maintaining the knife’s edge by honing it regularly is also essential. Honing helps to keep the blade’s sharpness and prevent it from becoming dull.

Use a honing steel to realign the blade’s edge, holding the steel at a 20-degree angle and running the blade along it several times on each side.

To prevent rust and damage, store the knife in a dry place, preferably in a knife block or magnetic strip. Avoid storing it in a drawer where it can rub against other utensils and become damaged.

Sharpening Methods


While honing can help maintain the blade’s edge, eventually, the knife will need sharpening to restore its sharpness fully.

Several sharpening methods are available, including using a sharpening stone, an electric sharpener, or a honing guide.

Using a sharpening stone is the most traditional method of sharpening a Sujihiki knife.

To use a sharpening stone, first, soak it in water for several minutes. Then, hold the knife at a 20-degree angle and run it along the stone several times on each side, starting with the coarse side and finishing with the fine side.

An electric sharpener is a more convenient option, especially for those not experienced in sharpening knives.

Run the knife through the electric sharpener’s slots, and it will automatically sharpen the blade.

A honing guide is another option for those who prefer a more controlled sharpening process. A honing guide holds the knife at a precise angle, allowing for consistent and accurate sharpening.

Proper cleaning, maintenance, and sharpening are crucial for caring for a Sujihiki knife. By following these steps, you can ensure that your knife remains sharp, rust-free, and in excellent condition for years.

Choosing the Right Sujihiki Knife


When choosing the right Sujihiki knife, there are several factors to consider. This section will cover the most important considerations to help you make an informed decision.

Material Considerations


The material is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a Sujihiki knife. The blade material will determine the knife’s durability, sharpness, and ease of maintenance.

Here are the most common materials used for Sujihiki knives:

  • Stainless Steel: 

    Stainless steel is a popular choice for Sujihiki knives because it is resistant to rust and corrosion. It is also easy to maintain and sharpen.

    However, stainless steel blades may not be as sharp as other materials.

  •  Carbon Steel: 

    Carbon steel is known for its sharpness and durability. It is also easy to sharpen. Carbon steel blades are more prone to rust and corrosion than stainless steel.

  •  Damascus Steel: 

    Damascus steel is a type of steel that is made by layering different types of steel together. It is known for its unique pattern and sharpness.

    However, Damascus steel blades are expensive and require more maintenance than other materials.

Price


Another important consideration when choosing a Sujihiki knife is the price. Sujihiki knives can range from less than $50 to over $500.

Here are some things to keep in mind when considering the price:

  • Brand: 

    The brand of the knife can significantly impact the price. Some brands are known for their high-quality knives and charge a premium.

  •  Material: 

    The material of the blade can also impact the price. Damascus steel blades, for example, are more expensive than stainless steel blades.

  •  Size: 

    The size of the knife can also impact the price. Larger knives are typically more expensive than smaller knives.

Brand


The brand of the Sujihiki knife is another important consideration. Some brands are known for their high-quality knives, while others may not be as reputable.

Here are some of the top brands to consider:

  • Shun: 

    Shun is a popular brand known for its high-quality knives. Their Sujihiki knives are made with VG-MAX steel and feature a comfortable handle.
  •  Miyabi: 

    Miyabi is another popular brand that produces high-quality knives. Their Sujihiki knives are made with VG10 steel and feature a beautiful Damascus pattern.
  •  Yoshihiro: 

    Yoshihiro is a Japanese brand that produces traditional Japanese knives. Their Sujihiki knives are made with high-quality steel and feature a beautiful wooden handle.

When choosing a Sujihiki knife, it is important to consider the material, price, and brand. Considering these factors, you can find a knife that meets your needs and budget.

Check out the rest of the kitchen knives in our Knife Series.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Sujihiki knife?

A Sujihiki knife is a Japanese kitchen knife specifically designed for precise slicing tasks, particularly for meats and fish, due to its long and narrow blade.

What are the main advantages of using a Sujihiki knife?

Sujihiki knives offer advantages such as the ability to make long, uninterrupted slicing motions, clean cuts with minimal effort due to their thin and sharp edge, and versatility for a range of slicing tasks.

How does a Sujihiki knife differ from a Gyuto knife?

A Sujihiki knife has a longer and narrower blade, ideal for precise slicing of meats and fish, while a Gyuto knife has a wider and more curved blade, suitable for general-purpose tasks and chopping motions.

How often should a Sujihiki knife be sharpened?

The frequency of sharpening a Sujihiki knife depends on its usage and the quality of the blade. As a general guideline, it is recommended to sharpen it every few months with regular use, or when you notice a decrease in cutting performance.

Can a Sujihiki knife be used for tasks other than slicing meats and fish?

While it excels at slicing meats and fish, a Sujihiki knife can also be used for slicing fruits, vegetables, and delicate ingredients like sushi rolls or terrines. However, it may not be suitable for heavy-duty tasks or excessive twisting motions.

Text Knife Series What is a Sujihiki Knife above a photo of a sliced piece of meat on a cutting board with a Sujihiki Knife next to it.