I read a lot of posts on KKF regarding R2 steel and lots of people like R2 but don't really know what R2 steel is made of. many members believe R2 is the best steel they've used and think R2 steel is better than SG-2 steel. I want to share my R2 knife shopping experience.
As I started shopping/research for a R2 knife few months ago, During my research, I found Takamura gyuto was listed as R2 steel in the Japan/European market, but listed as a SG2 steel in the US market.So, I e-mail some Japan knife vender regarding my R2/SG2 question, the replies were not definite and they thinks R2 and SG2 are very similar steel. moreover, A friend of my asked Mr. Itou the same question for me at Knife Show in Seki City. Mr. Itou confirm R2/SG2 steels are the same, but his R2 knife is better than Shun's sg2 knives because his hand hammer forging & heat treated process!
I also e-mailed Koki about the same issue and he in turn asked some knife maker and steel manufacturers for me. this is reply e-mail below for further reference.
Thank you very much for your new inquiry and interest.
You are currently interested in R-2 and SG-2 steel kitchen knives.
R-2 Powdered High Speed Tool Steel Material is made by one of most famous and big steel company "Kobelco". "Kobelco steel company" makes this steel and supply this steel to market.
We also heard "Kobelco Steel Company" also supply R-2 Steel to the another steel company "Takefu Steel Company". And "Takefu Steel company" supply that steel under different name "SG-2 (Super Gold #2)" to the knife makers.
It seem both steels are same, but has different name because of above.
If you will have any questions, please let us know and help.
Thank you very much again for your new inquiry and interest.
in conclusion, I think R2 and SG-2 are same steel! I hope this will help