Making the blade with Kamikoto

Kamikoto’s Japanese style knives keep professional and amateur chefs razor sharp.

Ask people of a certain age about Japanese knives, and the first thing they’ll likely think of is Ginsu. A staple of late-night informercials in the 1980s, the Ginsu sales pitch promised a miraculous knife that “could chop wood and still remain razor sharp,” among other dubious features.

In reality, the Ginsu knife had nothing to do with Japan – they were manufactured in Fremont, Ohio, and “ginsu” is a made-up word that inventor Barry Becher translated as “I never have to work again.”

But there’s a reason Ginsu’s copywriters created a pseudo-Japanese backstory for their product – actual Japanese knives are among the world’s best, part of the country’s millennium-long tradition of forging preternaturally strong, sharp blades.

Japan’s Kamikoto knives are part of that tradition, but their appeal is not in centuries-old lore – it’s in their ability to cut with incredible precision and dexterity. Among the fans of their handcrafted steel knives are world class, Michelin Starred chefs like Nick Dostal, Rupert & Carrie Blease, and Scott Schneider, as well as our hometown favorite Holly Smith of Café Juanita.

The high-end Japanese knife category has exploded in popularity in recent years, supplanting blades forged in France and Germany. Where European knives are typically double-beveled (i.e. the knife edge is formed by both sides of the blade angling to meet), Japanese knives are single-beveled – one side of the blade is completely flat while the other angles in to form the edge.

The single-bevel of a Japanese knife like the Kamikoto means they are significantly sharper, more precise, and durable than their double-beveled counterparts.

Single-bevel Kamikoto knives are also made from some of the finest steel in the world. Inspired by the 800-year legacy of steelmaking on Japan’s Honshu island, Kamikoto’s knives are handcrafted out of that same Honshu steel, forged in a rigorous 19-step process that requires several years to complete each knife.

Kamikoto offers several different varieties of Japanese knife: the nakiri, used to make precision cuts in vegetable; the all-purpose santoku, suitable to cut fish, meat, and vegetables; and the heavy Chuka Boch, used for slicing, chopping, mincing and crushing. They’re able to keep prices low by selling direct-to-consumer.

Josh Hershkovitz, chef and owner of Hersh’s in Baltimore attests to their remarkable qualities, “As soon as I picked up the nakiri, the weight and balance told me I was going to love it. Anything I cut with the nakiri feels like slicing through soft butter with that wonderful blade.”

To learn more about Kamikoto, visit their website or stay in the loop through their Facebook, Instagram and blog.