Questions about sakimaru

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Wagnum

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I've been seeing sakimaru shapes alot lately (tall like a gyuto and long like a yanagi) and I'm just wondering what the purpose of the shape is. The sudden upsweep at the tip with the drastic angle in the edge profile looks like it would be a p.i.t.a to sharpen on top of dulling easily. Is this just an aesthetic choice? Did it come about for similar social reasons like a takobiki? I see the yanagi being called either takobiki or sakimaru-takobiki. Is it just a marketing thing? Why so popular all of the sudden? I'm confused
 
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The two primary types of raw fish slicers used in Japan are yanagiba or the takobiki. It’s basically one of those Kansai vs Kanto things except that you tend to see yanagi way more often.

But sushi got more prestige as a job (trust me, for Japanese people 30 years ago, while your neighborhood sushi chef was a cool dude, you didn’t necessarily think of him as an esoteric master of culinary arts). Since the job got cooler, people started caring more about appearances and there was this sudden mystique that exploded around sushi knives (which I think in turn led to the j-knife world we live in now).

Basically, sushi chefs started spending more on knives. First fancier handles, shinier steel, etc. After a while every fancy sushi chef had a mirror polished honyaki shaku-sized stand-in for their masculine and culinary insecurities. So how does one stand out even more? Different shapes.

The kirituke shaped yanagiba and the sakimaru takobiki are both fairly new and are stylistic choices. The kiritsuke has been around as a shape for a while but not as a hybrid with a yanagiba (it doesn’t make much sense to call a shape a willow leaf if it’s not shaped like a willow leaf anymore). But man does it look COOL.

Same thing with the mini samurai sword. I mean sakimaru takobiki.

As a chef who was trained to use the full length of my knife both in slicing and portioning, as well as to use the natural curvature of the blade to aid in more ergonomic slicing, I find the new variations more about appearance’s sake than about any practical use. But then again I’m old-fashioned and haven’t actually given either shape a real shot. Maybe a younger sushi chef on here would have a more generous interpretation?
 

Wagnum

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The two primary types of raw fish slicers used in Japan are yanagiba or the takobiki. It’s basically one of those Kansai vs Kanto things except that you tend to see yanagi way more often.

But sushi got more prestige as a job (trust me, for Japanese people 30 years ago, while your neighborhood sushi chef was a cool dude, you didn’t necessarily think of him as an esoteric master of culinary arts). Since the job got cooler, people started caring more about appearances and there was this sudden mystique that exploded around sushi knives (which I think in turn led to the j-knife world we live in now).

Basically, sushi chefs started spending more on knives. First fancier handles, shinier steel, etc. After a while every fancy sushi chef had a mirror polished honyaki shaku-sized stand-in for their masculine and culinary insecurities. So how does one stand out even more? Different shapes.

The kirituke shaped yanagiba and the sakimaru takobiki are both fairly new and are stylistic choices. The kiritsuke has been around as a shape for a while but not as a hybrid with a yanagiba (it doesn’t make much sense to call a shape a willow leaf if it’s not shaped like a willow leaf anymore). But man does it look COOL.

Same thing with the mini samurai sword. I mean sakimaru takobiki.

As a chef who was trained to use the full length of my knife both in slicing and portioning, as well as to use the natural curvature of the blade to aid in more ergonomic slicing, I find the new variations more about appearance’s sake than about any practical use. But then again I’m old-fashioned and haven’t actually given either shape a real shot. Maybe a younger sushi chef on here would have a more generous interpretation?
Thanks for the well though out reply
 

shinyunggyun

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I am a sushi man myself and I agree that sakimaru are more about looks. The standard yanagiba is superior in terms of function. I believe the gesshin hide blue #1 300mm are back in stock. They are one of the best yanagibas out there.
 
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He is probably the one started the trend on IG years ago, many sushi chefs are now using longer blades especially in omakase setting.
I personally use 360mm sakimaru sujihiki and 180mm kiritsuke yanagiba, longer one for slicing the neta and kiritsuke for detail work.
Sakimaru shape does look more like a sword and many customers are impressed by the look of it.
 
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It’s cool because it’s swordy! I haven’t used a single bevel one for fish but I’ve used a double bevel one for steaks. it performed very well at its purposes of slicing meat and looking awesome.

Mine got delivered to my work by DHL, and upon seeing the long thin box from Japan the barista joked “what have you got there, a katana?” “Well…” I said as I pulled it out…
 

Qapla'

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How well do sakimaru-takohiki's work using takohiki-specific technique?

I've wondered whether a sakimaru-takohiki was a compromise between a takohiki and a yanagiba (q.v. its intermediate height vis-a-vis the two).
 

Wagnum

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I imagine the upward pointing tip is doesn't add any functionality and there's a hard line splitting the shinogi at the tip so I'd assume it would work pretty much the same as a takobiki? Maybe you'd get a little more drag? I'm just speculating
 

blokey

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Remind me of the Fredrik Spåre 330mm suji and those ridiculous but super cool bread knife.

 

Jason183

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It’s easier/smoother to breakdown Tuna into blocks compared to the pointy tip profile Yanagiba I guessed especially when push cut.
 

Qapla'

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I imagine the upward pointing tip is doesn't add any functionality and there's a hard line splitting the shinogi at the tip so I'd assume it would work pretty much the same as a takobiki? Maybe you'd get a little more drag? I'm just speculating
That's the sort of thing I was speculating too. I notice that there's quite a bit of variation in curvature of sakimaru-takohiki's: Masamoto's is seemingly entirely straight (they call it "kissaki-takohiki" [takohiki with a cutting point] in their catalog), while others go to the other extreme and have curvature on both the edge and the spine. I'd guess that the straighter models would be more suited to takohiki-specific technique (a forumite mentioned the straight edge helps in processing clams four at a time), but I was also guessing that the models with the curved edges might be "compromise" designs with yanagiba's.
 

adam92

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I asked the same question to Jon before, Below is his reply. For performance, I'll stick to Standard yanagiba, Sakimaru just looks cooler for me, with useless tip, I think no point to get Sakimaru Takohiki.

Screen Shot 2022-02-28 at 4.12.55 PM.png
 
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How well do sakimaru-takohiki's work using takohiki-specific technique?

I've wondered whether a sakimaru-takohiki was a compromise between a takohiki and a yanagiba (q.v. its intermediate height vis-a-vis the two).
Sakimaru Takobiki/takohiki normally come with a flat blade or belly, while Sakimaru Yanagiba have the same curve as regular yanagiba with a tanto tip. If you like that tanto tip on a yanagiba than you can get a Sakimaru Yanagiba. They normally have the same height as Yanagiba while sakimaru Takohiki is shorter and sometimes thinnerl. some knife makers like Nigara makes a sakimaru yanagiba with usable tanto tip. Myself I prefer regular yanagiba because it just feels better when slicing (Sashimi and Neta for sushi)
 
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