Dear God in Heaven…


So, I just tried out the santoku, the biggest of the three Japanese knives I received from my former colleagues. I was chopping a carrot–normally a task that requires me to push slightly in order to counter the basic springiness of the carrot.
The santoku moved through the carrot as though it were soft butter.

The Japanese: proudly supplying kitchens with high-grade weaponry since 1945.[1]

[1] I could be wrong about this because I’m not Japanese, but I was given to understand the santoku was actually a “modern” knife, born in the crucible between the West and post-war Japan–when traditional food was scarce, and the influence of the West in the diet started to loom large.


  1. They’re wonderful, aren’t they? I’ve got one, and absolutely adore it. I especially like it for onions — it slices cleaner with less crushing, and as a result my eyes don’t water as much.

    I had also heard that about the Santoku being developed after WWII, but before commenting to say so, I went to the Japanese Wikipedia to verify. The auto-translation describes it as “a blade that was produced as a combination of both characteristics of Western and cowpox.” Um, there you go? Apparently it’s translating “牛刀” as “cowpox” (It’s pronounced gyuutou, which is a homophone for both meat cleaver and cowpox, but does not use the same Kanji: 牛痘) . I love Google translate.

    Anyway, it’s being described as a combination of Western style kitchen knife and more traditional meat cleaver, the sort that I frequently see described as a “Chinese cleaver”. So yes, a modern knife 🙂

  2. He, glad to hear I was right on this (especially since I couldn’t subtantiate at all …)
    And I’ve got to try onions now. I always weep like a fountain when I try chopping them…

    It does look a lot like the knife my grandma keeps using (it has a name in Vietnamese, but I forget what it is), which in turn is very probably a mix between a Chinese cleaver and a French kitchen knife…

  3. be careful with that knife haha!

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