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Differences between Japanese and German Knives

Differences between Japanese and German Knives

Although there are many different knives for different jobs, most culinary knives fall into one of two categories. Are they a German or Japanese style knife? I say style because I'm not referring to the traditional Japanese, single-bevel knives you would see behind a sushi counter in Tokyo, but more the Japanese knives you would use in most Western kitchens.

There are a few key differences between the two and here's a quick cheat sheet...


•A German chef’s knife, also known as a French knife or cook’s knife, tends to be thicker and heavier with a fatter, more rounded belly, designed for rocking.

•The blade angle on a German knife is typically around 20 degrees. 

•A German knife has a softer Rockwell Hardness Scale rating, around 57, which means it’s much more durable but won’t maintain its sharp edge as long.

•Most German knives have a full-tang construction, whereas Japanese blades taper inside the handle, making it lighter and more front-weighted.


•Japanese knives are typically much more lightweight than Western/German knives, making it easier to handle for detail and precision.

•The blades often are without a bolster and are thinner and sharper.

•Japanese knives have a higher rating on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, around 60, which means they are made with a harder steel (more carbon). How does this translate? They get razor sharp and can hold that edge longer, but can also be brittle and prone to chips.

•The general edge angle on these knives is typically between 10-15 degrees.

Until next time,

Knifey Wifey

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