Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Dec 6, 2011 07:19 PM

A beautiful knife..

I'm on quest to find the perfect knife and this one is simply, beautiful.. This knife is aogami super steel on the core and the knife is then clad with stainless stainless steel to protect most of the knife from reacting with acids or moisture..

From Chef Knives To Go

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Gorgeous ... like Charlize Theron turned into a knife ... :-)

    I pulled the trigger tonight and bought my nakiri. I went with Mark's recommendation and got the Dojo. The idea of a super blue core clad by stainless at that price point ... I just couldn't pass it up.

    1. Ross,

      It is a beautiful knife. That being said, I don't know the quest to find a perfect knife can ever be accomplished because our desire is never ending. :)

      The Mizuno Tanrenjo Honyaki knives are also something to admire too. They come in both white and blue steel. Salty took some beautiful photos and wrote an review, but I figure you may be more interested in this following youtube review. As Salty clearly stated, the knives were nicely grind so it cut well without much sticking problem. This is important when you want a smooth work flow.

      While the blue steel is blue #2 instead of super blue, don't underestimate it. (also I am not sure how easy to do a honyaki on super blue).

      Japanesechefsknife has it listed in a somewhat hidden manner. It is under the "Special" section, but it is a long page. So use the search function to look for "Mizuno Tanrenjo":

      Have you decided what you are looking for in a knife? I think it really depends what is a good knife for you depends heavily on what you seek.

      P.S.: Enjoy this funny video as well:

      25 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Hi Chem.. Great links and beautiful knife. I'm just getting to understand the different types of steel and the Blue is incredible..

        I had a chance to see the Shun knives and instantly knew they were not for me. Just to finished, to perfect. I did like the handles though and find the traditional D or Wa handles are what I gravitate to.

        I asked Mark at Chef Knives to Go what he would recommend for a first knife and he said his addict was a great knife but it is 240mm and I want something no larger than 210mm so he suggested the Tijiro ITK Shirogami Wa-Gyuto 210mm:

        It is very reasonable at $55.00 USD and its the shape and size I want. It is shirogami steel (white #2) so will rust if not taken care of. I also ordered the Edge Pro sharpening system with Chosera stones and this will give me a chance to learn sharpening on something not to expensive.

        So my quest will continue. :~)

        1. re: Ross101

          Ross, I just purchased the Tojiro Shirogami 210. First, all carbon steel rusts if not taken care of. I am not finding a fast patina formation on this white steel #2 so I don't find it that reactive.

          I can tell you that I'm loving using this knife. I took it to 10 degrees on each side. It's a lot of fun to cut with. I love cutting through a tomato and if you closed your eyes you would not know you were cutting through something. No resistance, like cutting through air. I leave mine in the open after washing and drying as I do with a lot of my commonly used knives. Never had an issue with rust formation. I think this would make a wonderful first J-knife. Being carbon it will force you go develop good care habits, it's easy to sharpen and takes a wicked edge and holds it well.

          You are going to love using the EP system. You will never regret this purchase. Even though I freehand sharpen most often, the EP system has been a great learning tool and it's great when I want to set a nice straight even bevel the first time and then maintain with freehand sharpening. With my Shapton glass stones I can whip them out and be sharpening in under a minute since no soaking is needed.

          Don't hesitate on either purchase.

          1. re: scubadoo97

            Thanks Scubadoo.. It's really nice to hear someone likes the Tojiro. I almost feel a little silly buying a knife without handling it but this one sort of compels me and I think it will be a lot of fun experimenting with the EP system on it.. And, I like the rustic look.. The Shuns almost scared me they were so perfect.

            I really think it is true that it is more about how sharp a knife is not so much the knife.

            1. re: Ross101

              I also have a 240 Tojiro DP. It's been my basic workhorse knife

              All my knives I purchased on line so have never handled one before it arrived. I put a low value on having to hold a knife before buying. I find I adapt to the knife and not the other way around.

          2. re: Ross101


            scubadoo's advise is invaluable. I agree with him that this Tojiro Shirogami gyuto is a great value knife. This is especially the case if you think the Shun knives look too polished too nice. The Tojiro Shirogami is definitely not one of those. There are two other suggestions I like to make: the Fujiwara FKM and Tojiro DP. Aside from made of stainless steel, they have slightly thinner spine thickness than the Tojiro ITK (based on scubadoo's excellent report -- thanks). All three knives are under $100.

            I have talked to Koki from Japanesechefsknife about what he thinks are good knives for beginners. He suggest Fujiwara FKM (also sold by Chefsknivestogo), JCK Kagayaki Basic and JCK Kagayaki VG-10. If you like carbon steel, then JCK CarboNext and Fuijiwara FKH are good choices.



            P.S.: Since you like the concept of a Super blue knife.... what about the standard? The Hiromoto AS? $135 for a 210 mm Gyuto:


            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Hi Chem. Thanks for all the ideas. I'm not sure if I will like carbon steel but do want to give it a try. I'm getting a rather long list of knives I would love to own! And me, a self proclaimed minimalist. :~) Oh well..

              On one of the links you posted is the knife in the photo below. A Kagayaki Aogami Super Custom Damascus Series. With a Traditional Wa handle. I just love the looks. I'd probably just frame it..

              1. re: Ross101


                Yes, I was going to suggest that one too, but I remove it at the last second. It is slightly on the expensive side and I feel uncomfortable to suggest a $200 knife to you if you have not extensive chance of using Japanese knives and/or carbon steel knives.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Thanks Chem, I really have so little experience with knife shapes and handles that I'm reluctant to do much purchasing. It's fun to red user’s experiences. The western style handles are probably better for handling.

                  I don't really feel $200 is too much for some of these knives. I am a little concerned some may be so thin and hard that they are somewhat fragile. My Henckles are pretty much indestructible.

                  1. re: Ross101

                    Save your Henckles for carving a chicken where you may hit bone. Your J-knives will delight you for your basic slicing and dicing. And with your EP purchase your expectation and definition of sharp will change dramatically.

                    1. re: Ross101

                      I don't think $200 is too much for a good knife. It is just that... you know.. some people like carbon steel knives, some like stainless steel, some like German, some like Japanese.... Again, I think $200 is reasonable for a knife which you will like, but it may be a bit much for a knife to "try". That Kanehiro and JCK Aogami Super are really good looking knives, nevertheless.

                      Have you considered getting a relatively inexpensive white steel or blue steel knife to play with first? In fact, it may be even good to get a non-Chef knife, non-gyuto knife. This way, you won't have multiple Chef/gyuto knives. For example, you can try your Aogami (blue steel) with the Tanaka Aogami Nakiri ($50). If you don't like carbon steel... so... now you have a Nakiri on the side for more special occasions. If you like it, then great, now you can spend more for your next blue steel gyuto and your nakiri is still useful.

                      As for too thin and too hard, I think that is really a personal choice. Yes, japanese knives are a bit thinner than German knives in general, but even Japanese have huge range of thickness. I think the Tojiro Shirogami (white seel), the Tanaka Aogami (blue steel) are on the thicker side. They are not really much thinner than many German knives I have seen. However, there are certainly thinner ones. Again, it is really a personal preference. Thicker knives have their advantages, but thinner knives also have their advantages.

                      P.S. to Scubadoo. My Tanaka blue steel Nakiri has spine as thick as most German knives I have encountered. How about your Tojiro white steel gyuto (the one you bought recently)? Based on the earlier description, I think it is about the same thickness, but you would know how to describe it best. Thanks.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I would love to try a Nakiri style knife Chem. The Tanaka Kurouchi Nakiri seems like a good value and it would be fun to see the differences in steel.

                        There is a fellow that has done a excellent job of describing the different qualities of carbon steel knives here:


                        1. re: Ross101

                          Gator's site is a nice resource. Easy to spend a lot of time reading about steel

                          1. re: Ross101

                            I have exactly that knife -- the Tanaka Kurochi Nakiri. Like the Tojiro ITK Shirogami gyuoto, the Tanaka knife is a great value knife. I wrote a review on CHOWHOUND if you are interested:


                            At the time, I bought it for $40. The steel is nice. My suggestion for a nakiri is figurative. It does not have to a nakiri. The idea is to buy a different knife than your main knife. This will help you experience different steels, and different knife styles. Maybe a santoku if you don't have one. Maybe a paring knife...etc.

                            Like my good friend scubadoo said, the zknives is a wonderful website. At the end, gator cannot tell you what is the most suitable steel for you. You have to try them. Some people love the white steel -- which most Japanese chefs use. Other love the blue steel.

                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    The Fujiwara FKM looks just like this knife marketed by Kai SekiMago Roku

                    Fujiwara FKM -

                    Kai SekiMago -

                    1. re: bbqJohn

                      Is it just me or does the Fujiwara appear to have a wider blade?

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        Either that or the Kai SekiMago seems to have a more narrow handle. Hard to say.

                        Also looks a bit like the Fujiwara's heel angles back toward the bolster just a tiny bit more than the Kai SekiMago.

                        I think they're probably close but not quite the same.

                        BTW, the price for the Kai SekiMago is pretty low. Has anyone handled one in person?

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          Handle is different but the steel appears to be the same both Molybdenum/Vanadium although the Kai SekiMago lists theirs as AU-8.

                          Blade shape looks real close to me. The pic on Japanese Chef's Knives is of a 210 while the link of the Kai SekiMago I posted is a 240.

                          1. re: bbqJohn

                            Would make a difference. Didn't catch that

                            1. re: bbqJohn

                              Holy crap. You three finished your conversation while I was still typing my reply to bbqJohn. bbqJohn, my reply to you is right below.

                              Yes, the steel may be the same. However, many Japanese knives use similar. Afterall, there are so many steel out there. :) A lot of use VG-10, white paper carbon steel for example.

                            2. re: cowboyardee

                              "BTW, the price for the Kai SekiMago is pretty low. Has anyone handled one in person?"

                              No, but I remember visiting KAI Japanese website. In Japan, there appears the Seki Mago Rohu brand. So I bet tons of Japanese have tried the Seki Mago Rohu, just not us.

                          2. re: bbqJohn


                            It is an excellent point you have bought up. Many of these knives brands do not make all of their own knives. For example, it is known that Hattori HD knives are not made by Hattori. That being said, those two knives do look similar, but not the same.

                            I will point out four different characteristics.




                            1) The butt of the handle. Fujirwara FKM's handle has a hook like butt, while KAI Seki Mago Roku's is smooth.

                            2) Bolster. Fujirwara's bolster meets the blade in a smooth/seamless fashion, while KAI does not.

                            3) Blade profile. Fujirwara's profile is straighter than that of KAI

                            4) Blade tip. Fujiwara's tip is on the same level of the the bolster bottom (lower), while KAI's tip is at the middle of the bolster level (higher


                            They could still be made by the same knife manufacturers, but I don't think they are the same knife.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Thanks-1 and 2 I agree but 3 and 4 are a little harder to see for me, but thanks.... I don't think the physical characteristics are too important for me, but what I wonder is how they compare performance wise-as both are budget entry level J knives.

                              1. re: bbqJohn


                                Oh, so you are planning to get one? I think it looks like a great buy. KAI is Japan largest knife manufacturer along with all kind of other things like beauty care products :)

                                Seki Mago Roku is the main brand in for KAI in Japan, but it includes so many different kind of knives under this title: Seki Mago Roku. There is stainless steel, cladded steel, hard carbon steel, Japanese styles... so many:


                                In the end, I don't know enough to say if they are the same quality, but I think it looks like a real good buy based on the price.

                                1. re: bbqJohn

                                  I tried to search for as much information as I can find. The 4000ST you were looking at is made of the same/very similar steel as that of Fujirwara FKM: stainless steel with molybdenum vanadium. I couldn't find the knife steel hardness, but I would assume about the same as Fujiwara. Made in Japan.


                                  Good luck.

                                  The handle is made of composed laminated wood.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Thanks- I may order one.... I could use a 210 size for the home. 10 inches is a bit overkill at home most of the time and if I like it order a 240 for work.

                      2. Please don't post things like this here! My credit card can't handle it!

                        Very nice knives in all of these posts... I want to buy them all. Especially the first ones listed on the JapaneseChefsKnife "special" section. Too bad they're in the $1000 range. A bit out of my current knife budget... (At least if I want to keep my marriage intact :-))

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                          your safe, they are out of stock on the Kanehiro

                        2. With some help from the postal elves, I'm hoping to get a Finnish leuku for X-mas, the do-everything Sami knife. That's beautiful.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Kagemusha

                            There is something elegant in the simplicity of the ones I saw. What one are you getting?

                            1. re: SanityRemoved

                              It's the traditional Laiti-style leuku, about an 8" blade. They're indispensable as an outdoors/all-pupose knife. Gave my old one away a few years ago. Very satisfying to use them like a small hatchet to split firewood using a another chunk of wood like a mallet.

                              Nice NYT piece here:


                                1. re: Kagemusha

                                  THE VIKINGS ARE COMING! OMG! (runs off to hide the sheep and goats)

                                  1. re: jkling17

                                    No worries with the Sami--unless you're a reindeer...