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Thread: "traditional" japanese knives

  1. #1
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    "traditional" japanese knives

    So I am wondering if someone can clear up the history of japanese knives, esp with regard to single bevels vs double. Has japan pretty much always made both double and single bevels? Is the deba,yanagi,usuba, etc selection of single bevels what japan was primarily using 100 years ago? 1000? Just wondering about the history, long and short. Did pig-eating regions use double bevels 200 years ago? Were almost all knives steel harder than their counterparts in europe? How have knife profiles/styles changed?

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    Senior Member Castalia's Avatar
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    How about this from another forum

    Or this book for more info.

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    Thank you that post was great but did lead to a few more questions, maybe I'll have to get the book! Any other books out there worth considering???

    other questions:

    Were the knives that predated the usuba and deba single bevels as well? Why do restaurants use a single bevel and home cooks use a double for veg?

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    That book seems to focus more on knife technique than history...

    I'd love to find some info on the commercial history of such knives in the more recent times (like, when were the now commonly used blue/white steel grades introduced? Were there already "rockstar" makers in, say, the 1850s or 1920s? When were the first "real" hocho sold in the west, how were they advertised, which western chefs used them?).

    There seems to be very little available about it online and in western languages... even hardly any pictures of real antiques where maker and year is known. Yeah, 10000 year old swordmaking traditions, ninjas, sushi and belushi, we got it...

    Is all the info just waiting behind a language barrier, or is the topic just so little documented?

    Sorry to hijack, actually wanted to open that very thread and found this one just in time...

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    Quote Originally Posted by LifeByA1000Cuts View Post
    That book seems to focus more on knife technique than history...

    I'd love to find some info on the commercial history of such knives in the more recent times (like, when were the now commonly used blue/white steel grades introduced? Were there already "rockstar" makers in, say, the 1850s or 1920s? When were the first "real" hocho sold in the west, how were they advertised, which western chefs used them?).

    There seems to be very little available about it online and in western languages... even hardly any pictures of real antiques where maker and year is known. Yeah, 10000 year old swordmaking traditions, ninjas, sushi and belushi, we got it...

    Is all the info just waiting behind a language barrier, or is the topic just so little documented?

    Sorry to hijack, actually wanted to open that very thread and found this one just in time...
    Frankly, no such book exists in English. As someone long involved in the publishing end of the cutlery market, I can tell you the potential buyers list for this type of text has always been limited in the U.S. Book sales have fallen off even farther in the last few years. I was talking to a seller of cutlery books about a month ago concerning one famous annual that is changing editors. He told me sales of the annual had always tended to be modest but now he simply doesn't care what they do with because it isn't selling at all. The Japanese publish many books on their cutlery that would seem to be what you are looking for (I don't read Japanese so I'm never really sure) but few ever see English editions.

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    I came up with two or three books on e-bay for sale in Japan but none really covered the history in depth you were asking about. But I did order one that said English and Japanese text. From past experience, this usually means a full page of Japanese text followed by a couple of sentences in English. We will see.

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    The book "Handbook of Japanese Knives and Sharpening Techniques" isn't exactly what you are looking for as there is very little history covered. I do think it is an excellent introduction to the subject with good descriptions of what each style of knife is intended for. Obviously, having the text in both Japanese and English is very useful for most of us. The sharpening section is adequate for those not looking for in depth discussions of natural stones. I found my copy on a Japanese site listing on e-bay.

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    It is on kindle, at least in some countries.

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    Senior Member mikedtran's Avatar
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    This book is also available on Amazon - just purchased =)

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    Same here... wow, the author seems to be in love with japanese lacquer

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