The Bunka Knife or Bunka Bocho Knife | Perfect for Dicing

Posted by Ramon Elzinga on


What is the Bunka Knife?

The bunka knife (or bunka-bōcho) is a general purpose kitchen knife for meat, vegetables and fish. In Japanese "bunka" means culture and when the name of this knife was coined Japanese food habits were evolving quite quickly along with the changes to society, technology and infrastructure after the second world war.

What does "Bunka" Mean?

Loosely translated the Bunka knife is a "convenient knife". To be literal the word "Bunka Knife" means "cultural knife". Refers to the knifes traditional use for making cultural cuisine in the home. This knife is also often called Santoku bocho (although there is subtle difference on the knife tip - Santuko has a more curved tiop on the blade). In Japanese meaning three virtues or three uses, referring to the three cutting tasks which the knife performs well: slicing, dicing and mincing.

When did the Bunka Knife emerge?

The Edo period in Japan from 1603 to 1867 inserted the law whereby it was illegal to eat a four legged animal. Pigs, cows etc could not be consumed. When laws were changed in the late 1860's a number of new knifes emerged including the Gyuto and the Bunka Knife.

It was around this time that the Bunka knives became commonly available. This knife has a moderate blade thickness appropriate for meat and fish but thin enough for easy processing of vegetables. The bunker bocho blade and handle are designed to work in harmony by matching the blade's width/weight to the weight of blade tang and handle, and the original Japanese bunka bocho or Santoku knife is a well-balanced knife.

The Bunka Knife

The Ocean Blue handle Bunka Knife

This great looking knife appears and behaves like a fusion of the Nakiri knife and Gyuto knife. Bunkas can pretty well do it all. The bunka knife really is the best of both worlds with the result being greater than the sum of its parts. Since bunkas have fairly flat profiles they are most adept at push slicing and downward chopping rather than rock chopping (a Gyuto knife works well here with more curve like western blades).

Red handle Bunka Knife

The Bunka Knife with Shiraz Red Handle from Mclaren Vale

The Bunka knives are general purpose knives tackling a variety of common kitchen tasks. Their reverse tanto (commonly called K-tip) profile gives the knives a dexterous and delicate tip and a unique and eye catching aesthetic.

The Bunka knives we currently have in stock can be found here.

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