You maybe are not the type with a Shake Weight, a George Foreman grill, and a Snuggie from several late-night impulse infomercial purchases. Instead, your buying habits are purpose-driven, and now you are looking for the ultimate slicing-specific knife missing from your life/knife rack. Well, here it is, and you will not have to purchase it in the next 30 minutes.
The Slap Chop might have saved you from dicing, chopping, and mincing, but if you want the ultimate turkey, roast, chicken breast, or steak slicer, the sujihiki, a Japanese/Western knife variant is what you want. The sujihiki is a variant of the knife used by sushi chefs (a yanagiba) and it is specially designed to slice up flesh which is why they call it a sujihiki (flesh/muscle slicer).
I make it easy for you by providing you all the top sujihiki (sue-gee-he-key) Japanese knife brands and top sellers and the pronunciation all in one place.I have done all the vetting for you to help you find the best sujihiki for you. So there is no need to worry about unscrupulous knife dealers or falling victim to deceptive Chinese knives marketed as a Japanese knife.
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
If you already own a Ginsu knife, you are probably questioning what makes a sujihiki the ultimate all-purpose slicing knife, well here you go
- Japanese steels: the use of high-quality proprietary Japanese steels intended for slicing (holds a super-sharp edge longer).
- Japanese design with a Western influence: the sujihiki is a distinctively Japanese design with a long and thin blade that creates less friction on the blade when slicing (less need for a Granton edge like on taller knife heights).
- A variant used by sushi chefs: the sujihiki is a variant of the yanagiba, a knife you will see almost all sushi chefs using for cutting fish (sashimi) to makizushi (rolls).
- Ease of use: the sujihiki is a double beveled blade that allows for ambidextrous and ease of use, unlike the yanagiba’s single bevel design, which requires more skill to wield proficiently.
I know most of you are not the infomercial type looking for gimmicks, and the bulk of you are very particular with your tools and how you utilize them. So I have broken down the specifics of a sujihiki into every possible detail to make it worthy of your knife rack, which already has purpose-specific knives like your bread knife and filleting knife.
What is a sujihiki used for?
Unlike the yanagiba (willow leaf blade) that Japanese sushi chefs use, the sujihiki is an ambidextrous version because it is a double-beveled blade versus the single bevel design of a yanagiba. So with a sujihiki, it does not matter if you are right or left-handed, and it is also what makes the sujihiki a more versatile and easier knife to use for slicing.
A sujihiki is a Japanese style slicing knife which is great for boneless protein such as slicing steaks, roasts, chicken breasts, and soft foods (that soufflé is not going to slice itself).Also great for soft fruits, no rinds, like a melon. In that case, you better bust out your hefty German blades.
Carving vs. a slicing knife in comparison to a sujihiki
Lumping a sujihiki into either a slicing or carving knife classification that Western style knives are judged by would be lazy on my end because a sujihiki is a mixture of the two.
Qualities of both a carving knife and a slicing knife, but with a Japanese approach and the inherent characteristics of Japanese knives (lighter and sharper).A few of the reasons why Japanese knives are world-renowned.
- Carving knife: the carving knife has a pointed tip, to carve, cut up, and break down a carcass and large slabs of meat like a roast, lechon (a roasted pig), to a thanksgiving turkey. Although, in comparison to a sujihiki, they both have a similar blade profile, but the extent you will want to use a sujihiki is merely for trimming and slicing.
- Slicing knife: a Western-style slicing knife typically has a rounded tip (to prevent piercing the meat), Granton edges (minimizes surface friction), is long (10″+), is not tapered, and with some flexibility. The differences are also in its usage, where the slicer moves back and forth with a downward motion, and the sujihiki’s firm blade gently pulls through when slicing.
Types of steel/brands used by Japanese blacksmith
Aside from the production methods, the type and quality of Japanese steel used by Japanese blacksmith/knife makers are partially why Japanese knives are popular.
Japanese steels are known globally for their quality and it is partially what sets Japanese knives apart from all other knife producers.A few of the steels used are listed below and they also include Swedish steel.
The steels used are not exclusively Japanese, and some producers such as Misono have sought out and utilized Swedish Stainless Steel for their line of products, although most use Japanese steel.
The top Japanese knife makers use steel from the leading Japanese steel producers, from Aichi Steel Corp, Hitachi Metals Ltd., Kobe Steel, Ltd/Kobelco, to Takefu Special Steel Co. Ltd.
- The types of steels used (the spectrum) by Japanese blacksmiths: on one end is stainless steel (where chromium is added for corrosion resistance/prevent rusting). The other end are high carbon knives which are prone to rusting, but are very hard (sharper and longer lasting edge retention).
- Here are a few of the Japanese steels used by Japanese knife makers: SLD (by Hitachi), VG-1, VG-10 (by Takefu), AUS-10, ACUTO440 (Aichi), Shirogami 1/2/3 and Aogami 1/2 (white and blue steel by Hitachi), and ZDP-189 (also by Hitachi), a Japanese super steel made of a powder metallurgy, R-2 (Kobelco).
These are all the top sellers of Japanese sujihiki knives
I round up the top online Japanese and American online knife dealers and aggregate them all into one page (I also add in dealers for harder to find products).
- JapaneseChefsknife.com, Seki, Japan, est in 2003.
- Chefknivestogo.com, Fitchburg, WI, est. in 2002.
- Hocho-knife.com, Hyogo, Japan, N/A.
The four sujihiki knife price segments
Size matters when you have a large pork butt to contend with
A yanagiba and sujihiki are used primarily for slicing boneless protein such as beef (roasts and steaks) and pork (shoulders), although they have limitations. Like in South Park, they know American slicing blades are very, very, very large, whereas a Japanese knife is more petite (typically 9.4″ and up to 12.9″). So slicing up larger roasts will benefit from the longer and typical 12″-14″ and more bulbous Western-style slicing knives (although some can really work a sujihiki).
Deciding on the best size for a sujihiki
The appropriate size all comes down to personal preference although there are a number of generalizations that I will provide below to help make it easier for you to decide on the right size blade.
- A very utilitarian size is a 240mm (9.4″) although if you have similar sized gyuto, petty, or chef knife, you may want to go bigger to round out your arsenal.
- A popular size for a yanagiba and sujihiki is 270mm (10.6″).
- For novices, it is good to start on the smaller side 240-270mm (9.4″-10.6″) although for seasoned pro’s this is also a popular size range.
- If you plan on cutting large roasts, a magnum sized 300mm (11.8″) is probably your best bet, unless you have a tiny kitchen or confined workstation, then it will harder to wield.
Deciding on a sujihiki
- With Japanese products, you get what you pay for and the products are priced accordingly. There is no shell game of sales or was
$2,700, now only $299.
- The bulk, if not all of these knives are made in Japan. Why does that matter? Culturally, you are getting a product that reflects Japans culture which emphasizes craft (many of the individuals and companies who produce these products having been doing it for decades and are often multi-generational), quality (consistency is why most Japanese car brands lead on reliability), and value (as stated above, you get a fair price for what you are getting).
- Japanese (wa) or Western (yo) handle types: the Western knife has a riveted full tang that runs from the blade tip to the end of the blade handle. That makes the overall feel of the knife feel heavier compared to a Japanese knife, which utilizes less steel and more wood. Wood handles in the shape of an oval, a “D,” to an octagon.
You just need to decide on a product you like in a price range you can afford because regardless if it is a $64 or a $1,382, you are a getting a quality knife with a ton of value either in its durability or the craftsmanship that went into the product.
The Fujiwara (FKH) is a Japanese made blade for only $63.99 (pictured above). This knife is also an example of Japanese brands which represent value and why the Acura/Honda NSX is legendary (NA1/2). The car was 3x’s ($62k) cheaper than a Ferrari Testarossa ($195k), yet had the reliability and drivability of a Honda (I can keep on going with cars, but I will stop here).
Sujihiki knives from $50-$150
If you work as a line cook, or you are an avid cook, this price range offers up a solid range of products with a ton of value that the Japanese are known for.
I can bet you that the knives featured here in this price segment are the ones preparing your food around the globe in kitchens to the back of the house of restaurants of all sizes. They are all very popular for a reason, value (a quality knife at a reasonable price).
Hitachi SK-4 Japanese high carbon steel. The material makes extreme sharpness, HRC 58-59, very good edge holding and high working hardness.
High carbon steel.
AUS-8 Molybdenum Vanadium stainless steel.
|240mm (9.4″) to 270mm (10.6″)|
3 layered VG-10.
|240mm (9.4″) – 270mm (10.6)|
SK4 high carbon steel blade (HRc. 59-59). The FKS line comes with the “oval dimples.”
Made for CKTG.
Aogami Super (AS) Steel. HRC: 63
|Yoshimitsu Fugen||$145||240mm (9.4″)|
The knife is made with a Hitachi White #1 core and a soft iron cladding which retains the carbon forging scale for extra protection.
|Shiro Kamo||$150||240mm (9.4″)|
White #2 carbon steel, the knife is then clad with reactive Damascus steel for a beautiful-looking blade that will gain character as patina forms on the blade with use.
Sujihiki knives from $150-$350
You do not have to spend much, and all price ranges offer a quality product (yes, even at $64), but the higher you go, the more attention is given to the details. Those details are in the handle and ferrule materials, along with the types of steel used will match the price point.
The choice of material is not about nationalism, and it is about quality which is why Misono sought out the use of Swedish steel, and they did it with the results below:
“To help us express the quality of Misono’s knives to our customers, we thought the opinion of a professional who has over half a century of experience in the knife industry and decades of experience in using and sharpening many different kinds of knife. He clearly stated that in his, unbiased opinion, Misosno’s Swedish Steel Series knives are the best carbon steel knives currently being made in Japan.”– Japanese Chefs Knife
|Sakai Takayuki||$157.99||240mm (9.4″)|
33-Layer VG10 Damascus Hammered.
|Enjin SRK8||$159.95||240mm (9.4″)|
made with SRK8 steel which is an alloy that boasts some similarities to Hitachi Shirogami #2. In the case of SRK8, chrome and nickel are added for extra toughness and resilience. The steel is heat-treated to HRC 63+.
Sweden Steel Series
|240mm (9.4″) to 360mm (14.1″)|
Pure Swedish high carbon tool steel.
Super Clad Kurouchi
|$184.99||240mm (9.4″) |
Tsuchime finished texture with a core of Blue Paper Super (Aogami Super) Steel.
|240mm (9.4″) – Hocho or 240mm (9.4″) – CKTG|
Non-Stick Coating VG10 “KUROKAGE” knives are coated with fluorine resin on VG10 core blade to prevent being adhered and to get extreme surface smoothness.
|240mm (9.4″) to 300 (11.8″)|
Made from a special stainless steel called ACUTO440 (HRc. 59)
|230mm (9.0″) – 300mm (11.8″)|
VG-10 Cobalt Steel (HRc. 60-61).
Limitedv edition “snow in the dark” series with Dupont Corian® handle.
|Yu Kurosaki |
R2(Super Gold 2 or R2) micro carbide powder stainless steel.
*Please be noted that the hand crafted stock is extremely limited.
Sujihiki knives from $350-$650
In Japan, you really do not have to pay much to get stellar service or great food, so when you do pay, you get world-class service and a product that is usually beyond that of most competing products.
|Masamoto SW||$359.99||240mm (9.4″)|
High carbon stainless steel from Sweden.
Crafted out of SG2 (Super Gold 2 or R2) micro carbide powder stainless steel, one of the hardest blade steel in the world, which provides excellent rust resistance and a long-lasting edge as well as its beautifulness.
|240mm (9.4″) and 270mm (10.6″)|
High purity special stainless steel produced by a Swedish steel company
Kurosaki-san has used SG2 powdered metallurgical stainless steel as the core steel. This is covered, san-mai style, with a stainless steel cladding. The core steel is hardened to 62 HRC.
Sujihiki knives from $650-$1,250+
At this price point, it would not be odd to mount your knife to your wall as a showpiece due to the craftsmanship and as an appreciation to metallurgy.
Limited edition custom series SMT-187 R-2 custom damascus powdered metallurgy high speed tool steel, called “R-2” (manufactured by Kobelco, a subsidiary of Kobe Steel ltd).
|Mr Itou||$800||275mm (10.8″)|
R-2 Powdered High Speed Tool Steel for the cutting edge of his knives (HRc. 62).
Each one of Mr. Itou’s knives is a unique ‘one-off’, or ‘one-of-a-kind’ knife, that is 100% custom handmade and hammer forged.
|Shigeki Tanaka||$1,105.99||240mm (9.4″)|
33 Layered Damascus blade is comprised of a Japanese R2 (SG2 or Super Gold 2) micro carbide powder stainless steel. It is one of the hardest blade steels in the world, min.63 Rockwell scale (HRC).
How long will it take to get your knife order
If you plan on buying locally in the US, I have Japanese knife dealers listed here, but if you plan on ordering online, this is how long it takes approximately to receive your online order from Hocho-knife.com