Kiritsuke vs Chef Knife: Which One Is Better?

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From culinary enthusiasts to professional chefs, the knife is universally regarded as the ultimate weapon in the battlefield called the kitchen.

chef knife is the most prominent type you’ll see in homes and food establishments worldwide.

The Kiritsuke is another knife type that has gained popularity among cooks because of its style and quality.

It might be confusing to determine which of these is the better option for your slicing and cutting tasks.

Our Kiritsuke vs chef knife comparison will highlight their differences to help you determine which one is the superior option.

The Kiritsuke Knife

The Kiritsuke is one of the most famous traditional Japanese knives used worldwide.

Its distinguishing quality is its angled tip, making the Kiritsuke a natural or fa sashimi knife and an all-purpose knife choice.

As a hybrid of two Japanese chef’s knives, the Gyuto and Yanagi, this knife has been part of the Japanese culinary culture for centuries.

In many restaurant kitchens in Japan, this quality knife is traditionally used by the head chef only, so other kitchen staff cannot utilize it.

The Chef Knife

The chef knife is the definitive versatile knife in the Western world, most typically designed and made in France or Germany.

It derived its name from its popularity and versatility for chefs and pretty much anyone who’s working in a kitchen.

The chef knife is often considered the kitchen’s workhorse because it can slice, dice, and mince different ingredients.

Many would suggest that investing in a quality chef knife is worth every penny since it is the most likely tool you’ll use in the kitchen.

Kiritsuke vs Chef Knife

To determine which kitchen knife is better, let’s highlight the different aspects associated with them.

Blade Design

With its broad and flat blade design, the Kiritsuke resembles a Nakiri knife but has a more pointed tip.

The pointed tip and the blade’s extended length are ideal for the precise cutting of raw fish and other types of meat in a single rapid cut.

The heel region of the Kiritsuke is nearly flat and can be utilized like Usuba knives, which are the Japanese vegetable knives pro version.

This flat profile works well with a push-cutting method and is ideal for slicing small vegetables and herbs.

On the other hand, a typical chef knife features a pointed tip with a curved blade.

This design enables more rocking motion that you need during cutting.

By having the option to swing the blade back and forth on the chopping board, you can cut ingredients more efficiently.

The reason is that you won’t always have to reposition the cutting angle since you can rock the blade to complete the cut.

The chef’s knife has a versatile length, making it suitable for cutting ingredients of various sizes.

kiritsuke vs chef knife differences

Edge Design

The Kiritsuke is available with single and double bevel edges.

Its single bevel edge is relatively versatile and may be used the same way as Usuba or Yanagiba knives.

The single bevel knife is recommended primarily for cutting raw fish and vegetables only.

The double bevel edge versions of the Kiritsuke feature elements of Sujihiki and Nakiri knives.

As a result, they are more versatile since the edges are more prominent.

There are numerous types available as some versions are longer while other models have a belly,

On the other hand, a chef knife is mostly double beveled and has a broader angle than a traditional Kiritsuke Japanese knife.

If you are not aware, a double bevel knife has a blade tapered on all sides.

Knives with double bevel edges feature an angle of 20 degrees on each side to form the blade edge.

Construction and Maintenance

For hundreds of years, steel has been recognized as the main component of knives, regardless of their origin.

The Western chef knife has a hardness value of HRC 52 – HRC 56, but the Japanese knife, like the Kiritsuke, can have a hardness level of 65.

Kiritsuke knives are comprised mainly of robust high carbon steel.

Carbon steel’s thin but hard quality enables cooks and executive chefs to execute precise cutting to their ingredients.

In contrast, the Western chef knife is often composed of soft yet thick steel.

With these qualities, it often requires regular sharpening to ensure you cut with sharp blades.

While it may appear inconvenient, the softness of the steel makes these blades less prone to chipping, cracking, and other damages.

Chef knives may feel heavier than Kiritsuke knives due to the density of their steel material.


Kiritsuke knife handles have two types: traditional Japanese Wa-Handles and Western-style handles.

The majority of Kiritsuke knives have a hardwood Wa-Handle.

This type of Japanese handle features a lighter overall feel and a more forward-balanced blade.

The handles are made with different types of wood with various collars, depending on the price and the maker.

Kiritsuke knives often have a tang about 3/4 the handle’s length and are glued tightly to secure the blade.

As you might expect, “Western” handles are utilized for chef knives.

They are often a little heavier than Wa-Handles while featuring a full tang and secured by rivets.

In the past, Western handles were made of mahogany, birch, or olive wood.

Today, this type of handle is frequently made of composite wood such as eco-wood, pakka-wood, or micarta.

Chef knives made in Germany and France often contain a bolster that stops the chef’s hands from slipping down to the blade.

The bolster helps in minimizing accidental cuts and encourages you to handle the knife with a tighter grip.

Which Among the Two Knife Variants Should You Choose?

Regarding the Kiritsuke vs chef knife debate, it’s fair to conclude that it is an inappropriate comparison.

Both knives have distinctive attributes and offer different cutting techniques.

If you need more accuracy and will not be working with hard ingredients, a Kiritsuke knife is a fantastic addition to your kitchenware.

However, a chef knife will be more suitable if you cut thicker meat and other tougher ingredients.

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