I have been experimenting a lot with Shig. And just to clear up all confusion about reactivity and stuff.
I will say that reactivity people experience from Shigefusa knives come from Jnat finish ! and how knife is polished.
It is nothing to do with steel ! in fact the cladding Shig uses is used in many other knives that you guys think is not reactive
The hazy finish Jnats gives will react much quicker then buffed finish. Also many makers buff knives witch lives grassy and shiny finish that is much less reactive.
But for me i never funded them that reactive i clean my knife and wipe it as i do with all other knives, i never had to adjust my routine to Shig knives
I have certainly noticed that Shigs are a lot less reactive after I've refinished them, for sure.
Core steel reactivity is comparable to white steel reactivity.
Once the soft cladding patinaed, it becomes less reactive, but you still need to watch it, as leaving a knife wet (often it's near the handle) is likely lead to discoloration or rust spots. But that can be said of any carbon steel that doesn't have any chromium in it.
Another point of caution is air humidity. Definitely need to watch for that, particularly if knives haven't built up patina.
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For those of us who like patina - once that forms there is no reactivity or smell whatsoever. Even after I sharpen it, I run it through some warm meat right away to build it up again and have no issues.
For some reason I could never get myself to like the custom handles I saw on the web. The original handle looks massive, yet perfectly balances the blade at the point of pinch grip. The knife is simultaneously large and agile in your hand, giving you a sense of control. The kitaeji is just pretty. I can stare at it for a long time and not get tired. There is a pattern, but not quite an order, that reminds me of percolation. I like it much more than those damascus blades with highly ordered patterns. It seems the kitaeji is not as hard as blue 2, and does not give a burr as easily, but the blade goes through green onions without stressing them, and easily passes the tomato skin test. Really a joy to use.