Santoku Knife


In search of a reliable kitchen knife, you will quickly come across the well-known Santoku knife.

But what is a santoku knife ?

By now the Santoku knife has well established itself in the western market. It is impossible to imagine many classy kitchens without it.

A high-quality santoku knife has a sharp blade and an exclusive design. The word “Santoku ” comes from the Japanese and means nothing other than the “three virtues”. This refers to the meat, the fish and the vegetables that can be cut and sliced with a santoku knife.

In addition to Far Eastern Santoku knives, brands from western manufacturers are also available on the market. Unlike the relatives from the Far East, some of which are still made by hand in master forges, these knives are also available at affordable prices.

Particularly noteworthy is that the Santoku kitchen tools from the Far Asia, in the shape of their blade differ from the European models. A Japanese santoku is usually a Damascus steel knife with a V-shaped cut.

Western models are also made of good quality steel. Oftentimes, however, not the expensive Damascus steel is used. In addition, European santoku knives usually have a U-shaped blade. This makes them a bit stronger and less sensitive than the blade of a classic Santoku from Japan.

The 3 most popular Santoku knives in comparison 2019

The most important information summarized

• Santoku knives are the Japanese equivalent of chef’s knives and are designed as utility knives for different tasks.
• The word ” Santoku ” comes from the Japanese and means nothing other than the “three virtues” .
• The special shape of the blade brings numerous benefits when cutting meat, fish and vegetables.

What's so special about a santoku knife?

A classic santoku knife is usually a Damascus steel knife. A Damascene knife can be recognized by its typical pattern on the blade. High-quality damask knives are made according to the traditional technique of steel folding. They often have a handle made of different varieties of wood (mostly Pakka) and are very good in hand.

Anyone who possesses such a noble damask knife also owns a piece of cultural property. In addition, a good santoku knife is an all-round kitchen tool that allows professional or home cooks to easily cut vegetables, fish and meat into strips or other shapes. Also for the preparation of sushi, the chefs like to grab a santoku.

Because this type of knife fits so well in the hand, it is also suitable for beginners.


• Versatile
• Easier cutting due to special blade shape
• Long-lasting sharpness
• Sanded on both sides and therefore no elaborate sanding technology necessary


• Not dishwasher safe
• If Damascus steel then stainless
• Sharpening stone needed for sharpening
• Relatively high purchase costs

The Santoku knife blade

In Japan, the Santoku Knife is native to almost every kitchen. In the last decade, however, it has also begun a triumphal march in Europe. Many professional and hobby chefs are already in possession of a Santoku with a delicate sharp blade.

The high-quality knife is often made of Damascus steel with the typical pattern on the blade. Oftentimes, santoku knives with a granton edge can be bought. This type of knife has indents in the blade along the cutting edge, thereby preventing the sliced food to stick to the blade. Santoku knives usually have a blade length of up to 8 inches (around 20 cm).

The blade has a slightly rounded cutting edge. The blade curves from the point to the spine in a generous radius. A Santoku has a wide knife blade – the belly of the knife is a lot lower than the bottom of the handle.

When cutting food, the Santoku knife is tilted forward with the point slightly below the heel of the blade.. This leverage makes it easier to cut through even firmer and more resilient foods. The specially shaped blade and the perfect weight distribution of the Santoku knife makes it the perfect kitchen tool even for people with rather small hands.

The simple santoku kitchen knives are made of stainless steel. A different variants are the ones made of Damascus steel. Santoku knives are available with smoothly forged knife blades or with small, oval dimples just above the cutting surface, called the granton edge. These hollows are not ornaments. They facilitate the cutting of moist foods such as fruits, vegetables or raw meat and fish. The small indents ensure an easier release of the sticky ingredients.


Which steel is used for production of santoku knives?

The Santoku knife describes the type of knife and it can be made of different steels.

The ordinary stainless steel is widely used by knife making companies. It is very easy to clean and it is stainless. But blades made of stainless steel are not as sharp as those made of Damascus steel, which is fire-welded and forged from several layers of steel of different hardnesses and alloys.The resulting welded composite steel is hard and at the same time flexible. However, a little more care is needed so you can benefit from your Damascus Santoku knife in the long run.

A santoku knife made of Damascus steel is often not rustproof, which is why it should not be washed in the dishwasher. The steel can suffer damage due to the heat and washing chemicals. The cleaning and care of a Damascus Santoku knife should therefore always be done by hand.

The history of Santoku Knives

The Santoku knife was invented in Japan about 100 to 150 years ago. The knife is strongly linked to the transformation of the society of the Japanese nation.

The name originating from the words ‘San’ and ‘Toku’ can be roughly translated as the ‘Three Virtues’. These stand for the fish, the meat and the vegetables. These and also other foods can be easily cut and processed with a Santoku.

The eating habits of the Japanese changed especially after the Second World War.The economic boom in the country affected the population in a way that they could afford to buy and consume more meat. Before, they usually ate only fish.

The Santoku knives serve the cooks for different uses. With the growing economic power in many households luxurious food became available and the Santoku knife became very popular because it was created for multiple uses.

Cutting properties of Santoku

A Santoku knife delights professional and hobby cooks alike with its excellent sharpness.

When using a Santoku, you can get very clean cuts so that the juice is preserved in the vegetables and the food has more flavor. Thanks to the high sharpness of this kitchen tool, it is possible to delicately cut the fish for the sushi and to slice tomatoes into thin pieces.

Higher-end Santoku knives are usually made from Damascus steel. Several layers of metal are folded many times, and then hammered and heat-treated through a special process.

A classic eastern Santoku usually has a higher degree of hardness (around HCR 60) than the ones from Europe. Santoku knives made of Damascus steel are always in great demand. The very hard yet easily flexible metal is ideal for making the blades for the Santoku knife.

In the production of Damascus steel the layers of softer and hard steel are welded and fused. A santoku knife of this kind needs a little more care as a stainless steel one. In any case, these kitchen tools from the east are very much appreciated by the chefs all around the world.

How to Take Care of Santoku Knife?

It is no secret that the sharper a knife is, the more sensitive is its edge.

The Santoku knife should be stored in a box separate from the other knives. A Santoku made of Damascus steel does not belong in the dishwasher.

In case of high carbon steel blades, these products are not stainless and should always be cleaned and rinsed by hand. After that, they immediately need to be dried or wiped with a paper towel.

The knife blade of a Santoku can be rubbed with some camellia oil and wiped. And even a Santoku with a stainless steel blade should not be washed in a dishwasher – the beautiful wooden handle could suffer.

How to Sharpen a Santoku Knife?

Even a Santoku knife needs to be sharpened regularly. For this purpose, it is best to use a grindstone. When you are sharpening the knife, you should do it on a worktop, so the grinding angle (15-20 degrees) is the easiest to find and maintain.

If a grindstone is used, the knife blade of Santoku will not get damaged.

On our homepage there is a step-by-step guide showing how the precious santoku knife is kept sharp for a long time.