We have been asked several times about Sushi Knives and our opinion. We decided to provide some information to those of you who have some interest in these traditional Japanese knives. What most people are referring to when they ask about Sushi knives are sashimi knives, which are long thin slicing knives that have one sided, ground edges and are used primarily for slicing thin pieces of fish. Here is a look at several traditional Japanese Knives and our opinion on each. We considered steel material, handle comfort, edge retention over a 30 day time period, overall finish and sharpness out of the box. All knives tested were the same type and size, the 270mm Sashimi knife.
Shun Pro II Sashimi Knife 270mm:
We liked this knife very much. The handle design of the Shun Pro II is much more decorative and elaborate than the regular Shun Pro and we liked the overall fit and finish of this handle very much. Edge retention was excellent and the blade sharpness was amazing out of the box. The blade is finished on a 6000 grit whet stone and gives the blade a mirror finish which was very impressive. Overall an excellent choice, they sell for $320 at most retailers. We give this knife an A.
Masamoto KA Series Sashimi 270mm:
Our favorite knife in the group is the Masamoto KA Sashimi. The knife is clad with Hitachi Blue steel in the middle sandwiched between a softer more stain resistant iron on each side. The result is a great performing knife that is durable and has a great edge. This was the sharpest knife we tested and the edge retained it's sharpness throughout our testing period. The knives have a traditional Magnolia wooden handle with water Buffalo bolster. Masamoto is one of the leading producers of high quality Japanese knives for professionals. Overall we give this knife an A. The only drawback is the price. The knife typically retails for $410 at several retailers.
Bunmei Sashimi 270mm:
Bunmei is a good selection if you are looking for a quality knife but don't want to pay several hundred dollars. Bunmei knives are made of a high carbon stainless steel that contains molybdenum and vanadium giving them excellent edge retention but not as good as the two above. The handles are a fairly basic and traditional in style. As with most Japanese knives the balance point is forward of your hand making them blade heavy and they do not have a typical bolster and only a partial tang. These knives get a grade of B and we like the value proposition with the 270mm Yanagiba Sashimi costing about $80. This would be a good knife to start out with for those interested in traditional Japanese knives. However there is a big difference in finish as well as the materials used compared with the Masamoto and the Shun Pro II.
Wasabi Sashimi 270mm: Here is one to avoid. We are not sure why Kershaw decided to make such a knife but other than low price there is not much to recommend here. The blades were sharp out of the box but quickly lost their edge and were difficult to resharpen. We also were less than impressed with the plastic handles. Avoid. We gave this line a grade of D-.