Bunka? Why so popular these days?

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deskjockey

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I'm seeing a lot more Bunka's for sale and wonder why. The ones I see remind me a lot of a Santoku. What is behind the rise in popularity of the Bunka? Is it just that it is NOT a Santoku?
 
I think so. I can’t image any other reason for your standard bunka. Maybe the tip is better, but in the end they seem just like a santoku (with varying profile of course) with a different blade face.

Unless we’re talking togashi’s tall bunka… different knife entirely.
 
Well, as someone who currently has two for sale in BST and one still in the collection, I'll give my own personal view.

First, bunka and santoku are essentially the same category and you'll often find them listed together on vendor sites. They are explicitly intertwined so there's no real basis of a bunka "NOT being a santoku".

I think bunkas actually came around first but I may be wrong about that. Either way, a bunka is really just a k-tipped santoku. In the most general terms, both knife titles tend to be shorter, taller, and flatter than gyuto. Of course these days there is a ton of overlap and seriously blurred lines.

Bunka provide a fine-tipped, nimble, capable knife that can be especially appealing to the push cut crowd. Lots of folks see them as knives good for smaller assignments but just as many folks use them for full prep.

No doubt, for a lot of folks, the aesthetics play a role as well. For many people, me included, they look sexy as hell.

You also have more makers offering bunkas so there are more options for people to find ones they like so it stands to reason they would gain in popularity.

Again, I like them and am only selling the two that I am because I have some specific things I want to do and am freeing up space and funds.
 
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Thanks! A lot of good replies so far. I should note I'm a long-time Santoku user and a relatively new Nakiri user. I find my 165mm Nakiri a bit short and shallow but, I like its really flat profile for some of the veggies I cut for soups and stews mainly. However, because it is short and shallow I have tried the Chinese Cleaver options and I find they are either so big they are unwieldy in my home kitchen or they are simply too thick and heavy. The Chinese Cleaver search has been a real crapshoot in terms of finding a "large" Nakiri style of knife with the Sugimoto coming closest but, it is still a bit heavy and a little thick though, it works well generally in my kitchen as long as I'm not working with something soft like very ripe tomatoes.
 
Well, as someone who currently has two for sale in BST and one still in the collection, I'll give my own personal view.

Thanks! I find the K-tip is not something I am really attracted to generally. The cheaper one of the two reminded me a lot of my Santoku with the tip being sliced. That got me to a web search or two with a lot of Bunka love in various places.

So, that led me to believe it was partially a testosterone thing since the Santoku is frequently associated with 'housewives'.

The one thing I could see where I think a Bunka would work better for me is piercing things for an initial cut and maybe with some draw cuts.

That Yu Kurosaki one you have looks to be a lot flatter in edge profile so, it is a little tempting.
 
Thanks! I find the K-tip is not something I am really attracted to generally. The cheaper one of the two reminded me a lot of my Santoku with the tip being sliced. That got me to a web search or two with a lot of Bunka love in various places.

So, that led me to believe it was partially a testosterone thing since the Santoku is frequently associated with 'housewives'.

The one thing I could see where I think a Bunka would work better for me is piercing things for an initial cut and maybe with some draw cuts.

That Yu Kurosaki one you have looks to be a lot flatter in edge profile so, it is a little tempting.

I find the fine tip is nice for garlic, shallots, etc.

I've used that Kurosaki to cut things from blocks of cheddar to tenderloin.
 
I liked my 180 gyuto a lot but thought some extra height would be nice so I got a bunka as I like having a thin, narrow, sharp tip. Santokus have a very tall tip by definition, and many are pretty thick at the tip as well so they just didn’t really match what I wanted.

Anyway, I only have one bunka and one santoku whilst having way too many gyutos, so they’re not really an object of lust for me the way gyutos are. I do have a custom bunka in the works though that I’m very excited about.
 
Well, as someone who currently has two for sale in BST and one still in the collection, I'll give my own personal view.

First, bunka and santoku are essentially the same category and you'll often find them listed together on vendor sites. They are explicitly intertwined so there's no real basis of a bunka "NOT being a santoku".

I think bunkas actually came around first but I may be wrong about that. Either way, a bunka is really just a k-tipped santoku. In the most general terms, both knife titles tend to be shorter, taller, and flatter than gyuto. Of course these days there is a ton of overlap and seriously blurred lines.

Bunka provide a fine-tipped, nimble, capable knife that can be especially appealing to the push cut crowd. Lots of folks see them as knives good for smaller assignments but just as many folks use them for full prep.

No doubt, for a lot of folks, the aesthetics play a role as well. For many people, me included, they look sexy as hell.

You also have more makers offering bunkas so there are more options for people to find ones they like so it stands to reason they would gain in popularity.

Again, I like them and am only selling the two that I am because I have some specific things I want to do and am freeing up space and funds.
According to the Knifewear video by Naoto, correct, Bunka came first after WWII when everything “modern” (I.e. Bunka) was all the rage. Santoku came shortly after. And in Japan the names are used interchangeably. Bunka was a modernized Nakiri, and Santoku a variation on that.

IMO they are the same thing, just a different spine shape. Just depends on what one likes the look of, and for me, the sharp angles of a Bunka are much more appealing.
 
Thanks! A lot of good replies so far. I should note I'm a long-time Santoku user and a relatively new Nakiri user. I find my 165mm Nakiri a bit short and shallow but, I like its really flat profile for some of the veggies I cut for soups and stews mainly. However, because it is short and shallow I have tried the Chinese Cleaver options and I find they are either so big they are unwieldy in my home kitchen or they are simply too thick and heavy. The Chinese Cleaver search has been a real crapshoot in terms of finding a "large" Nakiri style of knife with the Sugimoto coming closest but, it is still a bit heavy and a little thick though, it works well generally in my kitchen as long as I'm not working with something soft like very ripe tomatoes.
Takeda makes a remarkably good "large nakiri" style Chinese cleaver shape. I sold mine because I want a Chinese cleaver, not a tall nakiri, but I can't imagine a better tall nakiri.
 
I think the tip and the relatively flat belly make it an absolute joy to dice garlic and onions, especially for push cutters like me but you do have to be a little careful to not gouge or damage the tip of the knife by stabbing into your cutting board.
 
I have a 180 bunka that's super useful for brunoise on shallots or strawberries, draw cuts on thin apple slices, etc. and that's really all I use it for, is when I know I'm going to be using the tip of a knife a lot. Most santokus don't have as thin of a tip, so I don't really have a use for one.
 
Its like when Spyderco made a manbug becuase, well, the ladybug was not manly enough.
 
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