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avk210

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Hey all,
Im thinking of pulling the trigger on a kato standard for $1200. Can you talk me into or out of it.
Any info is apreciated
Thanks
 

tcmx3

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btw I know lots of people are happy to comment on things they dont have personal experience with.

but my Kato 240 has been my main knife for 5 years. I love it. it was priced correctly at ~550.

if shipping knives wasnt a hassle and someone offered me 4 figures for it I'd sell it off my board in a heartbeat.
 

Jaszer13

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Well, here's my 2 cents. Unlike other makers Kato's have a tendency of going up in value over time. Katou-san is 76 years old (fixed) and is starting to slow production which will drive prices higher over time.

If you are looking for a knife that will maintain value, I would choose a Kato. If you are looking for performance for the cost. I wouldn't.

And if you are still wanting to buy one. I have 3 for sale lol.
 
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tcmx3

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I could also buy Rolex for $2-3K 10 years ago.
As it happens, I also purchased my submariner before the prices really started to go crazy.

I would not buy either a Rolex or a Kato today if I had to buy at market price. Id way way way rather have a JLC or a Ittetsu Honyaki at those prices.

If you must have a workhorse, ok, try and grab one of Tsourkan's. At 550 it's a much nicer knife than a Kato, if not better or worse, per se.
 

Jaszer13

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Uh...Shigefusa?
From a long term market standpoint, I see Shig's legacy going strong with generations of blacksmiths following the family business... (supply eventually will catch demand) yet, I do not see a heir to Katou-san's 2 generations of swordsmithing.


I could be wrong.
 

Corradobrit1

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As it happens, I also purchased my submariner before the prices really started to go crazy.

I would not buy either a Rolex or a Kato today if I had to buy at market price. Id way way way rather have a JLC or a Ittetsu Honyaki at those prices.
For some branding and provenance is everything. Supply and demand keeps pricing buoyant and increasing for watches and popular knives
 

Panamapeet

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Do it. You wont regret it. And if you do, you sell it for nearly the same and you can forget about katos with a clear conscience :)
 

Corradobrit1

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From a market standpoint, I see Shig's legacy going strong with generations of blacksmiths following the family business... (supply eventually will catch demand) yet, I do not see a heir to Katou-san's 2 generations of swordsmithing.


I could be wrong.
Mazakato? But you're correct, once Kiyoshi Kato hangs up the hammer and turns off the forge there will be no more Kato's.
 

AFKitchenknivesguy

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From a market standpoint, I see Shig's legacy going strong with generations of blacksmiths following the family business... (supply eventually will catch demand) yet, I do not see a heir to Katou-san's 2 generations of swordsmithing.


I could be wrong.
Supply hasn't caught up for as long as I've been in the hobby 15 years or so. Future value without heirs, possibly you're right.
 

tcmx3

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For some branding and provenance is everything. Supply and demand keeps pricing buoyant and increasing for watches and popular knives
The market may believe Kato has that level of provenance, but the market also thinks Fender's parts guitars and American Muscle cars do too.

I simply don't see it. A Kato is a very good knife, that's it. If you have that kind of budget you can buy something better.

At least with Rolex I can agree it's got the cache.
 

Panamapeet

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Well, here's my 2 cents. Unlike other makers Kato's have a tendency of going up in value over time. Katou-san is 56 years old and is starting to slow production which will drive prices higher over time.

If you are looking for a knife that will maintain value, I would choose a Kato. If you are looking for performance for the cost. I wouldn't.

And if you are still wanting to buy one. I have 3 for sale lol.
Kato is much older than 56.
 

Corradobrit1

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The market may believe Kato has that level of provenance, but the market also thinks Fender's parts guitars and American Muscle cars do too.

I simply don't see it. A Kato is a very good knife, that's it. If you have that kind of budget you can buy something better.

At least with Rolex I can agree it's got the cache.
How many Japanese makers do everything themselves, forging, sharpening, grinding, polishing? I probably have too many digits. That counts for a lot in my book. An all by someone who is a certified Swordsmith. I can probably count those on one hand who are making kitchen knives.

Add 20 years and you're close. He's in his mid-70's but looks a lot younger.
 
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jacko9

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Well, here's my 2 cents. Unlike other makers Kato's have a tendency of going up in value over time. Katou-san is 56 years old and is starting to slow production which will drive prices higher over time.

If you are looking for a knife that will maintain value, I would choose a Kato. If you are looking for performance for the cost. I wouldn't.

And if you are still wanting to buy one. I have 3 for sale lol.
I may be mistaken but, I thought that Kato was born in 1944. One thing I've noticed is that if you don't buy it somebody else will as soon as it's offered.
 

Corradobrit1

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I may be mistaken but, I thought that Kato was born in 1944. One thing I've noticed is that if you don't buy it somebody else will as soon as it's offered.
Correct. This from the JNS page

"These beautiful knives are made by Mr. Kiyoshi Kato, born 1944 in Tokyo. He began swordsmith training in 1964, at the age of 20, and is currently a licensed sword smith. He now uses his incredible collection of very old, and difficult to obtain, Tamahagane steels to form his own sword masterpieces.

He entered the field of knife making in 1977 by creating his first hunting and kitchen knives, and currently makes knives in his new Hokuto City workshop, found in the Yamanashi Prefecture.

Mr. Kato uses a special quenching technique, utilizing charcoal and water, which imparts an extra degree of hardness not often seen in regular clad knives.This gives all of his kitchen knives a feel very similar to Honyaki, incredibly stiff with little to no flex!"
 

tcmx3

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How many Japanese makers do everything themselves, forging, sharpening, grinding, polishing? I probably have too many digits. That counts for a lot in my book.

Add 20 years and you're close.
it counts for something, sure.

I was happy to pay 550. As it happens, that's not an insignificant chunk of change for a chef's knife. Personally, no way Im paying 1200 for a plain 240 gyuto. At those prices I'm expecting a honyaki construction, more sophisticated surface finishing, a spectacular handle/saya/woodwork, etc.

Look at the Ittetsu I mentioned; you get all 3.

I dont want to be cynical but I clearly have a different horse in this race because I paid new retailer price and not market price, and am not looking to protect some sort of investment or anything. To me, it's just a knife I like a lot. But not that much more than my wa-handle Tanaka R2, my own Ittetsu, or (again) my own Tsourkan. All of which can be acquired for far less money, and do not end up with you having a materially worse knife.

Im going to go ahead and say this is my final commentary on this subject. Anyone is free to take it or leave it. At the end of the day it's the OP's money and they're free to spend it how they like, even if I would make different choices.
 

danemonji

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Op: if you have a doubt about buying a Kato then don't buy it!

@redinsburning yes you were lucky to get one for 550$ and yes Kato is not for everybody. But don't compare it to other makers. I did not understand Kato until i tried other workhorses. That simple design, the perfect balance, that taper that slight convex which will not make slices stick to a high grind like a magnet...you don't see this in most makers. These are details that separate the perfect from mediocre. If you can't see these differences it means you don't need a Kato. What the heck for most people a custom or a hello kitty knife it's the same thing...a knife.
If you are like me and you like art, history and have a mind that strives for perfection then you might appreciate finding such details that reveal the genius of a maker.
As for Tsourkan or Mazaki, i don't see Kato copying any of their profiles, grinds or style...I believe it's the other way around.
 
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jacko9

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Op: if you have a doubt about buying a Kato then don't buy it!

@redinsburning yes you were lucky to get one for 550$ and yes Kato is not for everybody. But don't compare it to other makers. I did not understand Kato until i tried other workhorses. That simple design, the perfect balance, that taper that slight convex which will not make slices stick to a high grind like a magnet...you don't see this in most makers. These are details that separate the perfect from mediocre. If you can't see these differences it means you don't need a Kato. What the heck for most people a custom or a hello kitty knife it's the same thing...a knife.
If you are like me and you like art, history and have a mind that strives for perfection then you might appreciate finding such details that reveal the genius of a maker.
As for Tsourkan or Mazaki, i don't see Kato copying any of their profiles, grinds or style...I believe it's the other way around.
I have the JNS version of Kato Workhorse and I feel lucky that I got it when I did. Yes it was expensive but so are a lot of my other knives but I do appreciate the excellent grind and performance of that Gyuto over all others I have tried.
 

jacko9

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If you can afford it and you think you want it, go for it.

My only knife regret was in 6/2017 I managed to buy a Kato Nickel Damascus 210mm Gyuto online on a Sunday evening and had printed out the order confirmation. Monday morning I was playing golf and the store owner called and asked if I was sure I wanted it because of the price and because he had a lot of others looking to buy that knife (it was a 210mm Gyuto) it was with California sales tax $748.86 USD. I was on the 12th hole and it was my turn top play so I made a foolish mistake and told him to cancel my order if I could have priority on the next batch and that I really was looking for a 240mm knife. There was never another batch and Kato stops making Damascus knives. Kick myself in the butt every time I think of it and that was over three years ago - he is now 76 years old.
 

M1k3

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You can buy a TF Denka and have money left over for someone to "soup it up" and put a REAL nice handle on it. Or 2 TF Maboroshi's and do the same.

There's also the custom route. You could get exactly what you want to your specifications.

Or just pull the trigger on that Kato because why not? 🤷‍♂️
 

Panamapeet

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You can buy a TF Denka and have money left over for someone to "soup it up" and put a REAL nice handle on it. Or 2 TF Maboroshi's and do the same.

There's also the custom route. You could get exactly what you want to your specifications.

Or just pull the trigger on that Kato because why not? 🤷‍♂️
You can also buy 1200 McDonalds hamburgers...
 

Matus

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Look, purely from performance point of view it is hard to argue. Don't get me wrong - if a well made workhorse with great convex grind is what you want, you will love it. Edge holding is pretty decent too. But as it was pointed out by others - there are cheaper knives out there that may give you comparable performance (though I am not really aware of a knife with a similar grind).

I personally got a Kato WH 2nd hand just under a year ago (I stumbled upon one with dimensions that I liked) - for me it is not only the geometry and style of the blade, but also that Kato makes these knives in a way that few still do. For it is not just a very functional knife, but also a piece of traditional Japanese knife making history - fully concentrated on performance and not on cool finish or etched moons. Your preferences may differ.
 

tchan001

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The important thing is that once Kato stops making knives, there is no one around to pick up his legacy. His Damascus knives are already a non- replaceable piece of Japanese knife making history which are sought after by many. Those who have had the chance and let it slip away have agonized over their indecision. Will you let such a chance slip away when it is within your grasp? Will you purchase something else that will still be available years later on and then look back at what might have been?

For myself, everytime I see Kato available on JNS, I always think that this could possibly be the last batch ever available at retail because the risk is that Kato could stop producing at any moment in the future. This could be the last time I encounter a Kato WH on sale at retail level. I look back at other unicorns that are rarely available like a K. Tanaka R2 ironwood Damascus. I've never had a chance to purchase one, but at least I was able to get an S. Tanaka R2 ironwood Damascus. Similar but not quite the same. Which is why if you don't have a Kato in your collection and you encounter one you find affordable, I would highly recommend you give it careful consideration. Of course, you need to think about the condition as well.
 
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