Kikuichi - What do I have?

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Senior Member
Mar 1, 2011
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Picked up what I think is this knife but from another source:

My purchase looks almost identical, save the kanji, which doesn't quite line up.

Now, after a some digging I am a little confused as to what I actually have. :scratchhead:
First off, the Kikuichi site calls it a Usaba but it is a nakiri, unless those terms are used somewhat interchangeably (kinda like by definition a square can be a rectangle but not vise-versa).

Bumping around their site, translations and product descriptions leave a lot to be desired.
Although it seems Kikuichi may brand some other makers as well, I believe this particular knife is their own.

The description for my knife was this:

However I don't have a lot of confidence in the listing either.
The knife is new and unused, but perhaps old stock and this: "INCORRECT BOX".

Not sure on the core steel but the description called it a high carbon core. No patina yet (non acidic vegies so far) but it might be either VG-10 or V-Gold (whatever that is, but the "Gold" would fit the listing description), or some japanese mystery steel. Doesn't "feel" like VG-10 I have used before.

The cladding appears to be on the softer side.

It has deep clean kanji and the Kikuichi chrysanthemum stamp.

Regardless, a very nice knife.
Good fit/finish, thin, and got real sharp real quick.
My first nakiri and fun to use.

Anyone have one in this series or know something about Kikuichi ?


Pensacola Tiger

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Feb 28, 2011
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What you have is a nakiri, or ryoba-usuba as the Kikuichi catalog describes it.

V-Gold is what the "VG" in VG10 or VG1 stands for. It's "high carbon" as are all stainless steels. Since it is not specified, it is likely VG1.

Kikuichi are very nice knives, but they are a bit overpriced in my opinion. As I understand it, Kikuichi sources knives from several makers and has them stamped/engraved with their trademark carnation, hence the difference in the kanji you noted.

Enjoy it.

I had a V-Gold petty that I sold to a friend and he loves the knife.


Senior Member
May 10, 2011
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According to DrNaka, who instructed me on this point some time ago at FF, the terms are interchangeable.

What you have there is a ryoba usuba (transl: double-bevelled, straight-edged blade) which is also known as a nakiri (vegetable cutter). Another example is the santoku or 'three virtues', also known as bunkabocho or, loosely, "modern knife".

I have been informed that Kikuichi is a store located in Nara (hence the chyrsanthemum crest, I guess) which specialises in selling 'souvenirs to tourists'. On the available evidence, they also earn quite a lot of revenue distributing Japanese cutlery under their own brand to overseas retailers but they, afaik, are virtually unknown in Japan as a player in the knife industry.

They do not 'make their own knives' as such, but farm out contracts to a large number of different workshops and manufacturers. For example, I wouldn't be surprised if their Elite Carbon series sujihiki is made by Kanetsune as it is a dead ringer for that knife in the Honsho-Kanemasa E-series. They also have a Gekko hammered gyuto lookalike and so on. As it happens, I have a Fujiwara Kanemasa-branded Nakiri from JCK which is also cladded with a 'V-Gold' core that looks just like that one there in your link. But I paid $91.00 for it not $212.00.