Biggest names in yanagiba

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Qapla'

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A lot, in a lot of different regions. What are you looking for, and at what price point? Do you seek specifically honyaki's?
 

daveb

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Mine are Hide and Suisin. Suisin especially doesn't get the respect it deserves for single bevels
 
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Masamoto.

They make excellent single bevel knives with a decent fit and finish. All the things that matter are good to excellent but they are otherwise no frills tools. They target a wider market and are meant for working kitchens.

The blacksmiths you mentioned make artisan level knives that are functional and beautiful. Their build may have a more romantic story to tell. Better to use? Not necessarily...
 
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shinyunggyun

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Masamoto.

They make excellent single bevel knives with a decent fit and finish. All the things that matter are good to excellent but they are otherwise no frills tools. They target a wider market and are meant for working kitchens.

The blacksmiths you mentioned make artisan level knives that are functional and beautiful. Their built may have a more romantic story to tell. Better to use? Not necessarily...
Where do you get your masamoto yanagis from?
 
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Where do you get your masamoto yanagis from?
I dont live in America...

But you could try:
Or if you are a gambler ;)... you could pick up a used one up on Ebay (et al.). Look for ones without chips and over flattened uras. Because Masamoto made/makes so many yanagibas relative to other blacksmiths, if you are patient you can pick up a good deal.

Again... this is targeted towards a 'user' knife with good fundamentals. They are crafted extremely well - kudos to them.... but look elsewhere if you are looking for fancy hamon (Genkai, Ikeda, Shiraki, Doi) or pattern welding (Shigefusa) or master craftsman (Kato)...
 

shinyunggyun

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I dont live in America...

But you could try:
Or if you are a gambler ;)... you could pick up a used one up on Ebay (et al.). Look for ones without chips and over flattened uras. Because Masamoto made/makes so many yanagibas relative to other blacksmiths, if you are patient you can pick up a good deal.

Again... this is targeted towards a 'user' knife with good fundamentals. They are crafted extremely well - kudos to them.... but look elsewhere if you are looking for fancy hamon (Genkai, Ikeda, Shiraki, Doi) or pattern welding (Shigefusa) or master craftsman (Kato)...
That's exactly what I'm looking for. A "user" knife. And from the way you describe masamoto stuff, this might be just what I am looking for. Say, what do you think about aritsugu or Suisin? Are they also makers of "user" knives?
 

knifeknight

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Aritsugu in Kyoto doesn‘t manufacture it‘s own knives. They buy from different blacksmiths and sell under their own name.

I already bought several knives at Ebay, some of them NOS, others used and was seldom disappointed. For example look here:ikkyujapanavenue at eBay
 
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+1 Suisin (like nice pics? check out their website 堺刃物 酔心 SUISIN), I have several I enjoy immensely (Doi, Togashi)

Along with Suisin, I also recommend Nenohi if in USA and browsing Korin in particular. I mention that dealer simply because they have served me 80% of yanagibas I've owned. One could probably argue the prices could be more attractive, but IME the service and availability justify their ask (years past "professional discount" and/or annual sales have helped).

In my opinion, the SKU: HNE-DSHHMYA-300 listed at Korin is an excellent choice if you like White Steel, <$600. I bought one a few years ago and used + sharpened daily in pro environment before often loaning and ultimately gifting it to the sushi team at that restaurant. It served me very well (and continues to serve). I think I ordered mine during one of their annual sales; I viewed the price today and given my particular experience, I would absolutely buy one now if I were in need. F&F is great, performance is excellent, and they seem to be available.

IME: If you've a couple hundred extra $$, it is really hard to beat Suisin Hayate.
 
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daveb

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+1 Korin.

A beautiful knife does not preclude it from being a very functional knife.

But I would not hesitate on Masamoto either.
 

shinyunggyun

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I dont live in America...

But you could try:
Or if you are a gambler ;)... you could pick up a used one up on Ebay (et al.). Look for ones without chips and over flattened uras. Because Masamoto made/makes so many yanagibas relative to other blacksmiths, if you are patient you can pick up a good deal.

Again... this is targeted towards a 'user' knife with good fundamentals. They are crafted extremely well - kudos to them.... but look elsewhere if you are looking for fancy hamon (Genkai, Ikeda, Shiraki, Doi) or pattern welding (Shigefusa) or master craftsman (Kato)...
Are the masamoto yanagis at korin and Jck the same thing?
 

shinyunggyun

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+1 Suisin (like nice pics? check out their website 堺刃物 酔心 SUISIN), I have several I enjoy immensely (Doi, Togashi)

Along with Suisin, I also recommend Nenohi if in USA and browsing Korin in particular. I mention that dealer simply because they have served me 80% of yanagibas I've owned. One could probably argue the prices could be more attractive, but IME the service and availability justify their ask (years past "professional discount" and/or annual sales have helped).

In my opinion, the SKU: HNE-DSHHMYA-300 listed at Korin is an excellent choice if you like White Steel, <$600. I bought one a few years ago and used + sharpened daily in pro environment before often loaning and ultimately gifting it to the sushi team at that restaurant. It served me very well (and continues to serve). I think I ordered mine during one of their annual sales; I viewed the price today and given my particular experience, I would absolutely buy one now if I were in need. F&F is great, performance is excellent, and they seem to be available.

IME: If you've a couple hundred extra $$, it is really hard to beat Suisin Hayate.
From the looks of it, masamoto and Suisin are at the top of the food chain when it comes to performance yanagibas. Do you like Suisin's stuff more than masamoto? Or are they on par?
 

adam92

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From what I heard suisin old name is kaneshige, like young brother of sakai takayuki? F&F are better than takayuki.

Example masamoto sohonten & tsukiji masamoto, sohonten are better
 
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From the looks of it, masamoto and Suisin are at the top of the food chain when it comes to performance yanagibas. Do you like Suisin's stuff more than masamoto? Or are they on par?
I’ve owned Masamoto Sohonten honyaki (shirogami purchased 2001) and Tsukiji Masamoto (blue 1, purchased from MTC Kitchen 2017). The Tsukiji Is Kasumi and needed a good measure of blade road flattening. The ura is nice and deep. It’s relatively heavy (I prefer 300mm, all but 2 yanagiba I own are that length), the heaviest I’ve had of that length: even heavier than my Heiji, which is also 300mm kasumi.

Of the 300mm kasumi yanagiba I’ve owned, the Tsukiji mentioned feels heaviest (though I’ve not measured any weights).

I’ve been fortunate enough to own a Keijiro Doi 300mm Hayate yanagiba and an Itsuo Doi 330mm Hayate sakimaru takobiki. I’ve also found an Itsuo- made Sakai Takayuki, but it’s not as well finished as the Hayate. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time and effort adjusting the profile of the tip as well as flattening the blade road on that Takayuki (which I don’t mind since I was able to get an agreeable price).

It’s fair to expect that: for example if you’re paying for a name such as Suisin and a product line such as Hayate, purchasing from a well-established seller; your purchase should make you happy. And if you’re not pleased after initial inspection, you should be able to return your purchase, given you’ve never used or sharpened the knife. I’ve always been more confident when I’ve contacted the seller before purchasing.
 
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aritsugu or Suisin
Sukenari as well... All good brands!

You'd probably have to get an experienced sushi chef to comment/compare. I havent had the luck of handling more than a couple.


Are the masamoto yanagis at korin and Jck the same thing?
Yes; But just to be explicit... this thread already mentioned it in passing...

There is Tsukiji Masamoto and Masamoto Sohonten. The are separate brands. In the past they were a single brand but at some point they split. Broadly speaking I found Tsukiji Masamoto used more Takefu steel and Masamoto Sohonten used more Hitachi steel... though this isnt a hard rule. Masamoto Sohonten also has more availability outside of Japan. I believe Masamoto Sohonten is more popular. I was recommending Masamoto Sohonten.

To make things more confusing for you... Masamoto Sohonten has a basic line (KK Series / Kasumi) and a premium line (KS Series / Hon Kasumi). They are the same steel and hardness. The KS series basically has better quality control and finish.

If you are great at sharpening and dont mind fixing some potential grind issues, there is nothing wrong with the KK series.... but if you want to hit the ground running, the KS series is a better choice.

One last point... My impression is the Masamoto Sohonten yanagibas are designed to be easy to sharpen rather than maximise edge retention. Think quick touch ups at the beginning of a shift. If you want something a little more durable... it may be worthwhile seeking out a blue steel yanagiba.
 

Qapla'

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OP, have you considered visiting Bernal Cutlery in San Francisco? You might be able to handle a few yanagiba's from a few different brands.
 

daveb

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Don't want to be "that guy", but I gotta ask if you're buying a knife or buying a name? From your questions I'm surmising that you're rather new to this part of the game - forgive me if I'm wrong.

And I ask only because I quickly got into my yani adventure by buying way out of my weight class. I started reasonably with a Gesshin Uraku. A very solid, at the time, $200 knife, that could have been all the yani I ever needed. But feeling flush and wanting to upgrade, I went for a Watanabe Kintaro Ame (used) that retailed new for about $1600. Now this was way more knife than my skill set warranted and I really couldn't do anything with it that I couldn't do with the Uraku. Sold it and went for a Suisin Saika - a nice, middle of the road, white 3 Suisin by Doi. Life had balance. I liked it well enough I bought a Saika Kiritsuke the next time I had stupid money. Then it was time to upgrade again and I bought a Gesshin Hide. A lot of knife. And stupid again I added a Suisin, IIRC it is a Hayate, when Korin did a special on them. (Somewhere picked up a 240mm Suisin IH as well that I've yet to use)

Long way of saying if I was doing it again, and doing it smartly this time, (ha! like that ever happens!) I would start with the Uraku and stay there awhile. Or maybe jump in at the Suisin Saika or equivalent Masamoto level. Use the knife, become familiar with it and then decide where you want to go from there.

Good luck and enjoy the search.
 
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