Japanese Knife Blade Materials - Simplified
Confused? We made graphs to let you know where all the blade material lives in terms of all the materials used for most Japanese knives in the market today.
I hope the above graph helps you understand what you are picking. (Our product materials are in blue letters.)
Below is another graph showing differences and price and hardness of each material.
And here are the detail of each materials.
Stainless Steel Options
Popular options as they do not require heavy maintenance like non-stainless steel options.CM Stainless (CM合金鋼製)
The Most Popular Material
The material of choice for professional chefs. It’s rust-resistant, and in turn easy to maintain. It is made of high-carbon steel with chromium molybdenum. Which is equal in sharpness, sharpening properties, and hardness to carbon steel knives. This material is used for both CM options - the Japanese Style magnolia wood handle and the western style handle.
The More Economical Choice, That Is Still Equally Sharp.
Super French knives are made using carefully selected alloy steel that creates a more affordable price. Making it ideal for at-home cooking enthusiasts and beginners alike. It is equal in sharpness, sharpening properties, polishability, and hardness to carbon steel knives. Plus it is also rust-resistant. The notch in the lower part of the handle creates ease of use. While it isn’t super sharp or hard like the other types, it can do most jobs just as well.
Non-Stainless Steel (Rusts and require high maintenance)
These knives require high maintenance and will rust very easily. They are only used by limited chefs in Japan.HM Carbon Steel (HM炭素鋼製)
The Hardest & Sharpest Knife in Japan.
The knife of choice for top-tier chefs around the world. In fact, it’s the hardest and sharpest knife in Japan - perhaps even the world. However, it also requires the most upkeep as it easily rusts.
It’s handmade with the same technique as samurai swords. Using specially selected blade steel, of pure iron + carbon. The key advantage is that it holds its sharpness extremely well. Then it’s forged with traditional bladesmith techniques passed down for generations. It truly is a legacy knife!
Kasumi Superlative Carbon Steel (本霞製最上級品)
Kasumi Superlative Knives are made by joining a piece of soft iron with a piece of carbon steel. The soft iron portion protects the hardened steel that tends to fracture. This reduces brittleness and makes sharpening easier.
Honyaki knives are made of steel strengthened by quenching. Since quenching the entire steel blade makes the blade brittle and makes aligning its curve difficult, the blade is quenched only from the cutting edge to about the blade's half-point. The high price of Honyaki products is because their production is extremely labor-intensive.