What is a Sashimi Knife?

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  • Written By: Cathy Rogers
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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A sashimi knife is one of several traditional Japanese knives. Quality sashimi knives are made of lightweight, high quality steel, often with round, wooden handles and allow quick, smooth cuts. The many different types include yanagi, tako, fugu, and deba.

The yanagi sashimi knife is used for slicing long pieces of fish and is most similar to the Western utility knife. Its blade length is generally 10 to 12 inches (254-304 mm). The tako sashimi knife, comparable to a western carving knife, is used for thicker cuts of fish and is able to cut through skin and small bones. A tako knife might also have a metal handle that is balanced with sand.

The fugu knife is used to slice the puffer fish, or blowfish, and has a thin, flexible blade that is also broad. This particular knife is often shaped like the puffer fish, or fugu, itself. A deba knife is a heavier, thicker piece of cutlery that is used for easily cutting through fish skins and bones. The blade length of a deba knife varies from 4 to 8 inches (101-203 mm).

Japanese knives vary from Western knives in that they have a single beveled edge. The opposite side is hollowed. This design allows the knives to have a sharper edge, but also means that they are fragile.


Care and regular maintenance ensure constant sharpness and safety. The weight of the knife is predominantly at the end of the blade, which allows the chef to make comfortable movements. The blade length can vary from 3 to 14 inches (76-355 mm). The constant sharpening of the sashimi knife will eventually shorten the blade. The knives can also be used to finely slice other meats.

A sashimi knife is available in a wide price range. A more expensive sashimi knife might have a higher quality finish on the blade, as well as a more refined handle. The price ranges from under $100 US Dollars (USD) to over $400 USD. To a sushi chef, the knife is an extremely important tool. Because there is little preparation to sushi, appearance is critical and a sharp knife is key to a silky texture.


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Post 3

@ istria- sharpening a blade with a waterstone requires a little bit of skill and technique. I would recommend checking out a few youtube videos before you put you Japanese knife to the stone. Proper technique will ensure that you sharpen the blade correctly, and are using the correct technique for each different knife.

Post 2

@ Istria- To sharpen a Sashimi sushi Knife, you will need a set of Whetstones and a little bit of nerve. Start with the coarse brown whetstone and run the beveled edge of the blade across the whetstone 100 times. Next run the hollow ground edge of the blade across the stone ten times. When you run the hollow ground edge across the stone, do not run it across the stone flat, lift it about 10-20 degrees off the stone. Once you have finished this, rinse and wipe the blade, and run it across the polishing stone about ten times on the beveled edge. Your knife will now be razor sharp, but it still needs cleaning.

To clean your stone slice off a piece of daikon and dip it in powdered oxygen bleach cleanser. Rub the cleanser into the knife with the daikon, and you have a blade that will cut fish and vegetables paper thin.

Post 1

How do I sharpen a Japanese sashimi knife? I was given a set of Japanese knives for Christmas, and they are razor sharp, but I need to know how to sharpen them when the time comes.

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