What is a Kiritsuke Knife Used For? Unlocking the Mystery

Welcome to the fascinating and mysterious world of the Kiritsuke knife!

If you’ve ever wondered what this exotic-sounding blade does or if it could replace your entire knife collection, you’re in the right place.

What is a Kiritsuke Knife Used For
Shun Premier 8″ Kiritsuke

Join us on this journey as we uncover the secrets of the Kiritsuke knife and its many uses in the kitchen.

Let’s take a closer look at this interesting knife!

What is a Kiritsuke?

Kiritsuke knives are typically only used by sushi chefs or other skilled culinarians and are also known as the “Masters Knife” due to their extremely sharp blade and multi-purpose design, making it a versatile tool in any kitchen.

It can be used for slicing, dicing, and mincing, as well as for more delicate tasks such as filleting fish. The long, straight blade and its pointed tip also make it ideal for chopping vegetables and herbs.

In addition to its utility, the Kiritsuke’s distinct shape makes for a beautiful knife, which will make it stand out in any knife block or roll.

The Origin of the Kiritsuke Knife

The Kiritsuke knife has its roots in Japan and is a symbol of honor and status among the country’s top chefs. Only those who have mastered the art of Japanese cuisine are allowed to wield this majestic blade. With great power comes great responsibility, right?

Anatomy of the Kiritsuke Handle

The Handle or E

Traditionally, Kiritsuke’s come with “wa” style handles that are lightweight compared with the blade, which helps move the balance point down further, making it ideal to be held with a pinch grip to give the wielder better control when doing precision work.

Although the “wa” style handle delivers a traditional feel, there are versions with “western” style handles that provide better ergonomics.

The Handle Butt or Ejiri

The handle of the knife is often designed to have an angle at its base. These angles are always created after the bladesmith can tap the blade tang into it. The additional removal of material from the handle further helps bring the weight forward while still looking elegant on display or when handled themselves!

The Handle Steel Section or Tang

Traditionally, the tang section of a Japanese knife is thin and located towards its handle. This type of design allows us to use single-piece hones wood or burl that has been beautifully carved with intricate patterns as opposed to two thinner pieces of material attached to both sides of the tang. The single-piece handle provides for strength while remaining lightweight in comparison.

Collar or Kakumaki

The collar on these knives tapers towards the blade. This is a relatively uncommon design choice – as it takes longer to create such an effect with hand-forged steel. The shape makes them easier for us pinch holds because when you hold onto both sides at once, there’s less weight on any single point, which helps ease movement up or down through your cuts while cutting various materials.

Anatomy of the Kiritsuke Blade

Heel or Ago

The heel of the Kiritsuke is like that found on a Bunka – it’s there to help you push down and cut things that are difficult. If you want a more hands-on approach, use your non-holding hand as leverage by placing your palm on the spine above the heel and pushing down.

Spine or Muni

The spine of most Kiritsuke Knives is slightly thinner than a Gyuto or Santoku, which allows less force to be used while cutting root or starchy vegetables.

Belly or Tsura

The belly of the blade is long and deep, which makes it perfect for cut strokes when compared with other types of kitchen knives. Due to the length of the knife, the depth of the belly seems understated.

Tip or Kissaki

The Kiritsuke has a unique tip that makes it easy to slice through meat without all the mess. It’s also finished with a “K-tip,” which is similar in shape and design as those found on a Bunka. This tip is also great for fileting fish as it can glide across the bones giving the chef tons of tactile feedback.

Edge or Hassaki

The edge of the blade is the most used part of any Kiritsuke, as it is the starting point of the world-renowned “Push Cut”. This type of cut uses a forward-moving push that lets the edge do the hard work while you direct the knife.

Cutting Edge or Kireha

The Kireha offers a thicker portion that is closer to the handle that allows more power to be exerted on to it. The wider spine above this powerful cutting edge alone helps make the kiritsuke far superior to other types of kitchen knives.

Why Use a Kiritsuke Knife?

In the hands of a skilled chef, a Kiritsuke knife can do almost anything, like a culinary Swiss Army knife. It’s perfect for slicing, dicing, chopping, and filleting, giving you the power to prepare a wide variety of dishes with just one tool.

What is a Kiritsuke Knife Used For

Precision Cutting

The sharp and angled tip of the Kiritsuke knife allows for precise cuts, making it perfect for sushi and sashimi preparation. You’ll be slicing fish like a pro in no time!

Slicing and Dicing

The long and flat blade of the Kiritsuke knife makes it ideal for slicing and dicing, whether it’s cutting through a thick slab of meat or finely chopping delicate herbs.

Fish Filleting

The Kiritsuke knife’s versatility extends to filleting fish with ease, making it a favorite among sushi chefs and seafood enthusiasts.

Vegetable Chopping

Fear not, veggie lovers! The Kiritsuke knife can also make quick work of your vegetable chopping needs, turning your kitchen prep into a breeze.

All-Purpose Knife

With all these superpowers, the Kiritsuke knife can easily become your go-to kitchen tool, saving you time and effort.

Pros and Cons of the Kiritsuke Knife

As with any superhero, the Kiritsuke knife has its strengths and weaknesses.


  • Versatile and all-purpose
  • Sharp and precise cutting
  • A symbol of mastery and prestige


  • Requires skill and practice to use effectively
  • Can be intimidating for beginners
  • May lead to an unhealthy obsession with slicing and dicing


The Kiritsuke knife is a versatile and powerful tool, perfect for those looking to up their kitchen game. With its many uses and impressive design, it’s no wonder it’s become a symbol of honor and mastery among chefs. So, are you ready to embrace the way of the Kiritsuke knife?

What the FAQ

Is A Kiritsuke Knife Suitable For Beginners?

While it may be challenging for beginners, with practice, anyone can learn to use a Kiritsuke knife effectively.

How Often Should I Sharpen My Kiritsuke Knife?

Regular sharpening is essential, but the frequency will depend on your usage. Monitor your knife’s performance and sharpen as needed.

Can I Use A Kiritsuke Knife For Everyday Cooking?

Absolutely! A Kiritsuke knife is a versatile and useful tool for a wide range of kitchen tasks.

What Is The Difference Between A Kiritsuke Knife And A Santoku Knife?

While both are versatile, the Kiritsuke knife has a more pointed tip and longer blade, making it better for precision tasks.

What Type Of Bevel Does A Kiritsuke Have?

Kiritsuke knives usually come with single bevel edges making them extremely sharp, and should only be used by experienced cooks or chefs. Single-bevel knives can be dangerous if not used properly because the edges are sharpened so thin you will usually see blood before you feel the pain.
While extremely sharp, single-bevel edges aren’t as durable or versatile as the double-bevel counterparts – so the emergence of double-bevel Kiritsukes is more common.

What Blade Length Do Kiritsuke Knives Have?

The lengths range between 240mm up 330 mm, but it’s important not just choose the longest one because they’re also suitable if you have shorter hands or need more control when working with delicate ingredients.

What Is The Best Way To Hold Kiritsuke Knives?

The best way to grip a Kiritsuke knife is by placing your index finger on the spine, with your other fingers wrapped around the handle. You should then use your thumb to support the blade from underneath.
This grip may feel strange at first, but it will help you to maintain control of the knife and prevent accidental cuts. With a little practice, you’ll be slicing vegetables like a pro in no time.

How Do I Clean And Store My Kiritsuke Knife Properly?

To care for your Kiritsuke, it is important to hand-wash the knife with warm water and mild soap. Avoid using harsh detergents or scrubbing it with abrasive materials, as this can damage the blade. It is also important to dry the knife completely after washing it, as water can cause corrosion.
To keep the knife in good condition, it should be regularly honed with a sharpening stone. With proper care, your Kiritsuke will provide years of reliable service.

Why You Should Consider Purchasing A Kiritsuke Knife

If you’re looking for a kitchen knife that is both versatile and beautiful, the Japanese Kiritsuke Knife is perfect for you. With its straight design and sharp edge, this knife can handle all of your slicing, dicing, and chopping needs with ease making it a great choice for busy home cooks and every chef.