You can identify Japanese knives by the shape and length of their blades.
The usuba, or “thin blade,” is a traditional Japanese knife used for cutting vegetables. It's identified by it's overall rectangular shape and flat tip. The usuba is a sharp blade that is excellent for thinly slicing carrots, daikon radish and other vegetables.
The yanagi is a very long and thin bladed sashimi knife used by sushi chefs to slice fish. Thesingle bevel blade lets chefs create a clean slice with no rough edges with one single, long, smooth pull.
The gyuto, or meat knife, is a Japanese version of the classic Western chef’s knife, although the blade is thinner and holds a sharper edge. It is a versatile knife that can be used to slice steak, fish, veggetables or fruit -- anything.
A whetstone or "toishi" is a sharpening stone, which is soaked in water and used to sharpen the edges of steel knives. You'd be surprised how east an effective this sharpening technique is to do. Highly recommended.
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