The Bunka Knife

The Bunka Knife

Posted by Ramon Elzinga on

One of the most popular knives of our collection, the Bunka knife is a heavier all-purpose knife with a specialisation for chopping high-starched vegetables. Specially designed with a straight edge on its blade and a thicker spine of 32mm, the Bunka promises efficient rhythmic chopping and steady cleaving of heavy vegetables from pumpkin and potatoes to daikon and lotus root. Heavy like a guillotine, the Koi Knives’ Bunka lets you perform clean executions with efficiency— off with its (cabbage) head!

The Koi Knives’ Bunka has a total weight of 0.5kg. With a light handle yet a heavy blade the Bunka was designed to have a swing to it and uses gravity to its advantage when used for tasks that requires a degree of force behind the chop. A signature characteristic of the Bunka is its ‘k-tip’, a ‘reverse tanto’ angled tip, this sharper tip allows for finer tasks such as scoring vegetables, light butchering work, and removing the fat and sinew off meat. The straight edge of the blade on the other hand is highly suited to rapid chopping styles such as tap-chopping and push/pull cutting techniques. This heavy blade makes light work of mincing meat and chopping thin slices of vegetables, fruit, fish, meat and cheese. The thicker spine of 32mm paired with its specially designed dimpling on the blade also prevents high-starched vegetables from sticking to blade. The wideness of the blade is also optimal for assisting in scooping food up from the board. A true and sturdy powerhouse of a knife in the kitchen!

The history of the Bunka Bocho is embedded in its name as ‘bunka’ means ‘culture’ in Japanese and ‘bocho’ means ‘kitchen knife’. Before the development of the Bunka knife and the opening of Japan to the rest of the world during the Meiji era was the Edo period of Japan. The Edo era was a time where purity was stressed in Japanese culture. True to the fastidious nature of the Japanese, this notion of purity had to permeate to even the use of cutlery with each type of traditional knife having its specific use in either cutting certain types of vegetables or seafood. It was only during the late 1860s that Edo period laws against the consumption of ‘four-legged’ animals were changed and a new era of culinary culture began. Hullo wagyu! This was where the Bunka came into prominence; the word ‘culture’ in Japanese could also mean ‘modern, efficient, clever, chic’ even ‘Western’. The Bunka was popularised amongst the younger generation as a game-changer, a knife that could be used for anything, no boundaries, no rules, only julienned daikon radish and pink ginger!

The Australian Twist on Japanese Tradition:
In the dry Adelaide Hills, as the bright noon reaches its zenith and the sun glints off the rippling bevel of the meticulously crafted blade the first of the Koi Knives was born. It was a unique idea made in the unique timezone (UTC +9:30) of South Australia. Traditional Japanese knives made with Japanese steel but with the highest Australian craftsmanship. A company created by two school friends Shannon and Ramon, they sought to create a quality Australian product.

After the Gyuto knife, the Bunka knife was one of the first knives made by the duo. It forms part of the three Japanese Knives Starter Collection along with the Gyuto and Petty knives. The only knife in that collection with a k-tip, it is a stand out for chopping heavier vegetables and light butchering. With its k-tip blade, the Bunka also has a clearer reflective quality— allowing you to check your appearance on its mirror-like surface during a night of entertaining while showing off your Australian-made artisan knife! Like other Koi Knives the Bunka is made with high-carbon Damascus Steel (AUS10), its higher carbon content lends its crisp sharpness yet being a form of stainless steel it is more durable than traditional pure carbon-steels.

Koi Knives’ Signature Handles:
Pairing tradition with new innovation is the resin-infused local woods that make up the unique Koi Knives’ handles. Each handle is one of a kind and cannot be replicated. The wood is sourced locally in South Australia’s wine region and varies from the wood from olive trees to Shiraz grapevines.

After each use:
Simply wipe down in warm soapy water, dry and place on a knife rack away from humidity. Job done!

Long term maintenance:
Koi Knives are made with Damascus Steel (AUS10) and therefore has a higher carbon content than the average Western kitchen knives. This lends the knives their particular long lasting sharpness, however they also like to be kept dry when not in use and should not be exposed extensively to heat, hot water or ambient high humidity. They should most definitely never be put into the dishwasher or other such nonsense. Each knife was made with love, so please take care of them for us!

Knives made with Damascus Steel are harder at the edge, this means less honing is needed but should instead be professionally sharpened and ideally with a whetstone. Depending on frequency of use, the knife may need to be sharpened by a professional every 3-6 months for most people. We have an extensive list of sharpeners we can recommend in every state if you’d like to contact us.

Similarly, the handle was crafted with resin and coated with a polish that also should not be soaked in hot water. Extended exposure to hot water may damage the polish on the handle that is the protective shield for the wood and resin. Over the years, if the handle starts to look a bit dull a small amount of furniture polish may be used to buff back the shine.

For more information on knife maintenance please see our page:

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