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Thread: Dispelling Myths

  1. #31

  2. #32
    Is it a myth or not that double beveled Japanese knives(Santoku, Sujihiki, Gyuto, etc) are Japanese in design, but of western origin? I.E. did they take western knives and alter them through a Japanese lens, or were these independent developments?

  3. #33
    that kind of thing has a bit more merit... a lot of interesting things happened during the meiji restoration (1868-1912)... much of this time period was about japan going out into the world and learning about how other countries did things. They adapted educational systems, military systems, clothing systems, etc. Knives were also greatly influenced. Specifically, gyuto, sujihiki, petty knife, etc. Santoku and nakairi are less clear to me and i would be overzealous to say anything with 100% confidence here.

  4. #34
    FYI, i am keeping this whole list updated on my blog too... sometimes these things get a bit cluttered with questions and answers, so the myth/truth part without interruption is available here:
    http://blog.japaneseknifeimports.com...ing-myths.html

  5. #35
    Senior Member brainsausage's Avatar
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    Great thread Jon. I've been fascinated by Japanese culture since my early teens, and it's very refreshing having a western mind disseminating said culture in an informative and unbiased manner.

  6. #36
    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurkeCutlery View Post
    Is it a myth or not that double beveled Japanese knives(Santoku, Sujihiki, Gyuto, etc) are Japanese in design, but of western origin? I.E. did they take western knives and alter them through a Japanese lens, or were these independent developments?
    Didn't you say that santoku was was introduced after WWII to Japanese house-wives as a way of being more Western in their kitchen? Prior to this, Japanese knives were single-purposed, and satoku was marketed to them as being multi-purpose, more like the Westerners use? Santoku being three treasures or merits - I've seen/heard them dubbed as chop, dice and slice, but that sounds stupid to me, as all three of these tasks are related and can be done w/ a usuba, etc. Vegetable, fish and meat seems more appropriate as these three traditionally required three (or more) specific knives (usuba, deba, yanagiba, honesuki & honkatsu).
    Shibui - simplicity devoid of unnecessary elements

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by BurkeCutlery View Post
    Is it a myth or not that double beveled Japanese knives(Santoku, Sujihiki, Gyuto, etc) are Japanese in design, but of western origin? I.E. did they take western knives and alter them through a Japanese lens, or were these independent developments?
    I'm referring two renowned Japanese books for the comment I'm about to make here...

    According to the books, Deba and nakiri used to be around for every house hold for a long long time.. then from around Meiji Restoration, wa-gyuto, santoku etc (primarily double bevel knives) have become more popular among home cooks, and eventually replaced deba and nakiri (once again, at home kitchens, not in professional environments). This indicates some double bevel knives have been around....

    FYI: regarding their design, in most cases, santoku and nakiri are categorized as wa bocho, and sujihiki is yo bocho...

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by mpukas View Post
    Didn't you say that santoku was was introduced after WWII to Japanese house-wives as a way of being more Western in their kitchen? Prior to this, Japanese knives were single-purposed, and satoku was marketed to them as being multi-purpose, more like the Westerners use? Santoku being three treasures or merits - I've seen/heard them dubbed as chop, dice and slice, but that sounds stupid to me, as all three of these tasks are related and can be done w/ a usuba, etc. Vegetable, fish and meat seems more appropriate as these three traditionally required three (or more) specific knives (usuba, deba, yanagiba, honesuki & honkatsu).
    That is how I've understood it on all counts(except it was prior to WWII IIRC, just post globalization). I guess I stated it in a strange way, but just wanted exactly the kind of clarification that Sara and Jon have provided. A lot of times, you see Gyutos being explained as being different from a Chef's and they get credit for their origins being in the Katana. But it has been my understanding, and it seems re-affirmed here, that the Gyuto is a Western knife concept(the hard-use, low maintenance, all-rounder design) processed through the Japanese knife making mindset--like a cover version of a song that is better than the original. Nothing to do with weapons.

    I did not know, however, that the Nakiri is a Japanese double bevel design. That is interesting, I did not know they ever made a double bevel independently.

  9. #39
    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sara@JKI View Post
    FYI: regarding their design, in most cases, santoku and nakiri are categorized as wa bocho, and sujihiki is yo bocho...
    Thanks for the info Sara.

    In the case above, "wa" meaning "Japanese style" and "yo" meaning "Western style", regardless of handle style? What is gyuto - wa bocho or yo bocho? And, does the term "gyuto" come from - is there any relation to cow?

    I'm curious about the origins and intended uses of double bevel knives, as they are (except now for nakiri) what I call non-traditional (as opposed to traditional knives, those being single bevel and developed in Japan for specific uses/tasks). It seems, as Eamon pointed out, that <most> double bevel knives are Japanese interpretations of Western knives. Thanks!
    Shibui - simplicity devoid of unnecessary elements

  10. #40
    wa and yo can describe both both handle and blade style. However, naming things can be a bit more complicated due to trying to make things sound good. For example wa-gyuto is clearly a yo-bocho with a wa-handle. But no one calls a yanagiba with a western handle yo-yanagiba (maybe because its so uncommon).

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