japanese knife vs german knife

Japanese Knife VS German Knife

  • 9 months ago
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When you are looking for a brand new knife, fundamentally you will find two main types of knives: German and Japanese. There are many more different types of knives available besides these two. Both the Japanese and German knives have been influenced by its own rich culture. However, these two are the most prevalent and thus proved they are worthy of understanding. Let’s see what you guys gonna find in Japanese Knife VS German Knife Article:

  • Introduction of Japanese knife vs German Knife
  • The story/ History behind Japanese and German Knife
  • Common Features of them
  • An in-depth comparison table
  • An informative infographics
  • Editor’s final words

Japanese Knives

The Japanese people believe that using an ideal instrument for a specific aim is for the best and all things considered have created different knives for different intentions. As the land of long traditions, they have accumulated hundreds of years’ worth of knowledge and experience and further refined them to perfection. This information was passed down from master to apprentice as their legacy to form the knife-making industry as we know it today.

The Story Behind Japanese Knife

Japanese knives are created by applying techniques that were originally developed for making katana over 1000 years ago. The artisans started creating knives instead of swords in the 1850’s. It all began when Commodore Matthew Perry’s steamboat anchored in Edo Bay (now Tokyo). There he demanded the emperor to open Japan’s long-isolated ports to Western trade.

However, it wasn’t until after World War II that knife making in Japan really began its magnificent journey. After the end of World War II, the United States occupied Japan and General MacArthur imposed a ban on the production and possession of katana. The ban forced large numbers of highly skilled craftsmen to turn their skills and attention to crafting kitchen knives instead. Although the sword ban was lifted after seven years, there was still a limit placed on production which in turn caused the craftsmen to make very few katana a year. However, the legacy and exceptionally haunting sharpness of the katana still lives on in the heart of the kitchen even though more than 1200 years have passed by.

Common Features of Japanese Knife

Japanese knives basically do not contain any bolster. The wide joint between the handle and the blade of a knife is called the bolster. It provides a smooth transition from the blade to the handle and also it strengthens the knife. Moreover, because the blade is heavier than the handle, the bolster provides better balance and improves control over the way you use the knife. Additionally, the tang of best Japanese knives varies based on the creator’s choices. Tang is the part that connects the blade with the handle. Professional Japanese knives contain mostly hidden or partial tang.

German Knives

The German people value versatility and durability in their culinary efforts and therefore have given importance while designing knives that are suitable for different tasks. Solingen, the second largest city in the Bergisches Land in Germany, is a mecca for German knives.

The history of German knife making began in Solingen around 1814. The nickname of the city is the “City of Blades” that alone describes its incredible fame. Medieval sword makers marked it on the world map and gave it a reputation that has stood the test of time. At the time, Solingen was the place to go in Germany for a sword. Just like the Japanese, once the Germans had perfected their own way of crafting swords, they focused their attention on making knives. Even now, Solingen is the knife capital of Germany.

Common Features Of German Knife

German knives mostly contain both a full-tang and a bolster. The term full tang means that the knife is crafted using one solid piece of metal and the metal starts from the tip of the blade and goes uninterrupted to the end of the handle. Furthermore, the two handle pieces are pinned on to the blade, one on each side. This is the strongest of the available types of tang. Because the German knives have a bolster, the balance of the whole knife becomes smooth giving better control.

Let’s see a video where you will find an in-depth comparison between Japanese knife and Europian knife that means Garman knife. Not only that you will find a very specific difference between chef knife and other knives from expert knife maker.

Comparisons Between Japanese Knife VS German Knife at a glance

ContentsJapanese KnivesGerman Knives
Angle12 to 15 degrees.20 to 22 degrees.
ShapeStraighter edge in general.Curved in general.
Suitable ForBetter-suited for chopping and making clean slices.Better-suited for the rocking style of chopping.
WeightLightweight. [Example: An eight-inch Global Classic Chef’s Knife weighs 5.5 ounces.]Heavyweight. [Example: A Wusthof eight-inch chef’s knife weighs 9.6 ounces.]
ThicknessThinner.Thicker.
BolsterBolster-free.With bolster.
TangMostly hidden or partial tang.Full tang.
The hardness of steelTypically on the harder side.Typically on the softer side.
Amount of carbon in steelMore amount of carbon.Less amount of carbon.
EdgeSharper.Less sharp.
Edge RetentionLonger than German knives.Less than Japanese knives.
Rockwell scale value60 to 63.56 to 58.

Eventually, everything depends on the needs and desire of the person buying the knife. Japanese knives are the best for precise work as they are slim, razor-sharp, and lightweight. The harder steel means getting a very sharp edge is possible that can go longer between sharpening.

However, the hardness of the steel and the superb delicacy of the blade and increases the chance of it getting chipped and cracked. On the other hand, German knives are heavier, thicker and the weight and softer steel make the knives more durable.

Final Words

Fundamentally, nowadays comparison between Japanese and German knives is not that important, especially since the gap between the styles of knives is diminishing. Some German knives are now sharpened to attain a lower angle than before. On the other hand, usage of new alloys improves the durability of Japanese knives.

At the end, every kind of knife has their respective strengths and weaknesses. It’s not that one style of knife is better than the other, it’s just a matter of usages and preferences.

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