As in other cultures, the Japanese kitchen has its own unique cooking implements, including various types of knives. Japanese knives differ somewhat from those of other countries, as blade shapes evolved in conjunction with native techniques of food preparation and indigenous foods.
There are two major materials favored for Japanese knife blades: carbon steel and stainless steel.
Sophisticated forging techniques borrowed from the ancient Japanese tradition of sword-making are used to create the high quality carbon steel used in Japanese knives. Stainless steel is also used for blades, mainly because it does not rust. Ordinary Western knives are sharpened on both sides of the blade, but Japanese knives are usually forged so that only one side of the blade holds the cutting edge-and that edge is generally made of high quality carbon steel. The cutting edge is often found on the right side of the blade, to accommodate right-handed users. There are two Japanese knives that do most of the work: the kitchen carver and the vegetable knife. The kitchen carver is called d e b a - b o c h o. It is basically a fish knife, used for cutting, cleaning, boning and filleting fish. The vegetable knife is used for paring vegetables, and for slicing, chopping and mincing.
The deba-bocho, or kitchen cleaver, is used to prepare fish. It is available in many sizes and is versatile. Below is nakiri-bocho, or vegetable knife.
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