[What Virtues Are Santoku (Three Virtues)?]
The most familiar kitchen knife in our kitchens is probably the santoku knife. It is also called "bunka knife" or "all-purpose knife," but I was a little surprised to learn recently that its history is actually not that long.
Santoku knives, which have a shape suitable for cutting meat, fish, and vegetables, first appeared around the 1940s as kitchen knives that combined the characteristics of a nakiri knife for cutting vegetables, a deba knife for cutting fish (or a funagou knife used by fishermen), and a gyuto knife for cutting meat. The name "santoku" comes from the fact that a single knife can handle three types of knives: a Japanese naikiri knife, a deba knife, and a Western gyuto knife.
It is thought that kitchen knives associated with specific uses and occupations, such as the earlier nakiri and deba knives, were established around the Edo period. The Edo period kitchen knives seen in ukiyo-e prints are similar in shape to modern kitchen knives. Gyuto knife was introduced in the Meiji period (1868-1912) when meat was consumed as a result of dietary changes.
Of course, each type of knife has its own specialties and plays the most suitable role for a single task, but the santoku knife is very useful because it is reliable and can handle all of them on average. I think there are many people who bought their first kitchen knife when they first started cooking with a santoku knife.
According to a 2016 survey on kitchen knives, the average number of kitchen knives owned was four, with santoku, all-purpose, and bunka knives in first place, followed by bread knives, and petty knives in third place. 98.4% of all respondents owned santoku knives.
The "Three Basic Knives" series by Tadafusa is a series of kitchen knives which are so many kinds and specialized that it is difficult to know which one to choose, but we have narrowed them down to 3 knives which are enough to have. The SLD steel used for the blade is a hard and tenacious special alloy containing chrome, carbon, molybdenum, vanadium, etc., comparable to stainless steel. Compared to ordinary stainless steel, it will rust depending on care, but it cuts well and keeps its sharpness for a long time. This all-purpose knife is double-edged, so left-handed people can also use it.
Spring is the season of starting. How about choosing a new kitchen knife that will "open up the future"?
Tadafusa's All-Purpose Knife
Morimoto Hamono's Bunka Knife