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Why Japanese Kitchen Knives Make for Great Gifts

Short of gift ideas? Maybe it’s time to pull out something out of the ordinary with a shiny, new, ultra-sharp and daunting Japanese kitchen knife with a beautifully patterned Damascus or tsuchime finishes!

When we think of gift items, the shiny objects that come to mind include cameras, gadgets or even fashion items. But have you ever thought of a unique Japanese kitchen knife as the ultimate out-of-the-square functional kitchen knife that would make for a treasured keepsake?

A Japanese knife gift is the kind of gift item that the recipient will treasure for a lifetime. Think about it; every time the recipient will be using it to prepare a meal, they will be thinking about you!

In our modern kitchens that are now dominated by mass produced, machine-engineered utensils, having a handcrafted, soulfully made and exotic kitchen knife really makes for an impressive presence in your kitchen. Every time you step into your kitchen and see that beautifully patterned Japanese kitchen knife sitting in your sets, you will almost be tempted to grab it and use it to make some inspiring meals.

A thoughtfully selected Japanese kitchen knife gift is the kind of culinary gift that will appeal to someone who isn’t even a professional chef. Beyond its functional value as an efficient and unique kitchen knife, these knives look almost like a piece of art. They can be inspiring. Even as a home cook, you can imagine yourself wielding a bunka, nakiri, usuba, deba, yanagiba or sujihiki knife like the quintessential Japanese chef working on a sushi with all the delicacy, passion and ceremony. That should surely make a difference in the quality of dishes that one prepares. If you pump your soul and passion into the food preparation, it is possible to bring out the energy in the food. Time now to seriously think about that Japanese kitchen knife gift.

Are They Superstitious About a Knife Gift?

There is something of a superstition around knife gifts. Some people think a knife gift symbolises the severing of a relationship. However, most people simply don’t treat such superstitions seriously enough to be suspicious about a unique, handcrafted and crazily sharp Japanese kitchen knife. Even if they do, there is a little something to soothe away their fears. More on that later on.

The best of the Japanese kitchen knives are often an object of great beauty. They are ultra-sharp, have thin blades, unique shapes and often feature very unique one-of-a-kind finishes. They also feature handles that have been inspired by the Japanese knifemaking tradition. The handles are always made of wood with unique elliptical, octagonal or D-shapes. The blades of the Japanese kitchen knives have edges and shapes uniquely crafted to serve a particular purpose.

Why a Kitchen Knife Makes a Great Gift

The Japanese kitchen knife isn’t just something of profound beauty; the build of the knife adds some precision and pleasure to your kitchen work. If you are gifting someone who likes to cook, they will particularly appreciate having such a serious tool as a gift.

Giving a Japanese kitchen knife to someone even if they aren’t a kickass cook means giving them greater fun and less stress in the kitchen. It means gifting something that will last a lifetime and help them prepare better tasting and better looking meals.

Japanese blades command and demand respect. This is not just true of the specialized arm-length kitchen knives like the yanagiba or single-bevel and delicate veggie knives like the usuba. Even the all-purpose and easier to use kitchen knives like the gyuto, santoku and bunka must be handled with great care. After all, the sharp edges of the Japanese kitchen knife, a desirable quality in any kitchen, may also inflict costly lessons on your fingertips. Any Japanese knife demands attention, concentration and reverence.

To choose the most suitable Japanese kitchen knife as a gift, think about what the recipient likes to cook as well as their skill level with knives. After all, you will want to get something that they will be able to use on a regular basis.  Go to www.koiknives.com and learn the various types of Japanese kitchen knives to help you choose the right knife for your loved one.

How to Choose the Right Knife Gift for Someone Special

Choose a Knife with the Looks

Choose a sexy-looking knife. If you are going to give a knife gift to someone special, an average-looking knife simply won’t cut it. Fortunately, a lot of Japanese kitchen knives from reputable forges have got some character such as mirror finishes or the swirl-patterned Damascus steel blades.

Choose a Knife that’s Easy to Use

If you are sending a knife gift to someone who has never used a traditional Japanese kitchen knife before, send them a double-edged or double-bevel kitchen knife. These are generally easier to master and use than single-sided knives and can be used by both right-handed and left-handed cooks. The single bevel kitchen knives have one sloping cutting edge and a flat face of the blade and need additional discipline to use. Sharpening the single bevel kitchen knives also requires specialized skills but they will give beautiful precision cuts.

Send a Knife that’s Easy to Sharpen

Beyond the looks and ease of use, you should also consider how easy it is to sharpen the kitchen knife. After all, Japanese kitchen knives are keepsakes and that special someone is probably going to use them for a lifetime. Choose a knife type and material that will be easier to sharpen and maintain. A double bevel kitchen knife is generally easier to sharpen. A complete novice might ruin the edges of their single bevel knives if they don’t know how to sharpen them properly.

Gift a Knife that Can Be Used Every Day

It might be tempting to gift someone a very unique and specialty kitchen knife but if they can’t use it on a day-to-day basis for their needs, the gift won’t be of much help. If you are gifting a home cook or someone who isn’t very familiar with the Japanese kitchen knives, it is recommended that you gift them a multipurpose kitchen knife such as a gyuto or santoku. A bunka or a nakiri can also be great options for someone who has had a little exposure to Japanese kitchen knives.  

Go for a 210mm gyuto or santoku knife for your beloved’s kitchen. Both are multipurpose kitchen knives but the santoku has a wider blade and flatter cutting edge along with a trademark sheepsfoot blade and blunt tip.

Both the gyuto and santoku kitchen knives can be used on meat, fish and veggies. The gyuto kitchen knives are quite similar to the classic Western Chef’s knives but, as you would expect of a Japanese kitchen knife, they have lighter and thinner blades.

After the gyuto knife, the other style of knife that you can consider for a gift is the vegetable knife, nakiri. Like the gyuto, it also has a double-edged blade. The blade is long, symmetrical, rectangular and flat-tipped and is used to cut in a push forward motion as opposed to the rocking motion of the curved blades.

The nakiri is a versatile vegetable knife and can be a great gift choice for a vegetarian cook.

There is also the razor-sharp double-beveled sujihiki knife. Or you can go for the usuba knife which is a razor-sharp and precision kitchen knife for making fine and delicate cuts on your veggies. The usuba would be a good gift for someone who is already familiar with Japanese kitchen knives and who works on precision or decorative vegetable cutting.

The petty knife is also a great gift choice for the skilled cook and has a length of just 5 to 6 inches. The petty knife is a small knife that is best used for finicky work. You will often use the petty knife on tasks such as peeling shallots or garlic where you are holding the food with one hand.

The short and sturdy honesuki or boning knife is a good gift choice for someone who cooks lots of meat and chicken. It’s sturdy, pointy and has a thicker blade suited for disassembling poultry as well as meat from small animals.

Consider the Size of the Blade

Even a small Japanese knife can be quite intimidating for a home cook without prior experience with Japanese kitchen knives. Don’t think of gifting someone a yanagiba, deba or usuba knife when they have never used a Japanese knife before!

These knives get even more intimidating when they are longer. Home cooks, particularly, will find the long blades a little daunting. Many home cooks also have smaller cutting boards that may be overwhelmed by the longer blades.

If you are gifting someone a Japanese kitchen knife, consider going for a small or medium-sized blade.

You should also consider the size of the hands of the intended user. Someone with smaller hands obviously needs smaller knives but this is also subject to a user’s confidence. Some users with smaller hands feel perfectly comfortable wielding larger knives. So, your blade choice must also take into account the culinary prowess of the gift recipient.  

Bring Out the Story Behind the Knife

You can make the knife gift extra special by sending it with a note explaining the provenance of the knife as well as how to use and care for it. You can also slot in a few invaluable knife-care instructions. Knowing the knife’s ‘backstory’ makes the recipient treasure it even more.

Overcoming the superstition about knife gifts

For some, superstitions are real and you might get some eyes rolling when you surprise someone with a cool knife gift. Thankfully, there is a way to address this one! One cheeky way of doing this is by sending a knife gift with a coin inside the giftbox which the recipient can then send back to you so that it appears like they ‘bought’ the knife from you. It is a sneaky way to help superstitious people overcome their worst fears and thankfully, it works with many people.

When gifting someone a Japanese kitchen knife, think about the purpose of the knife and try as much as possible to match the knife gift to its purpose. It helps if you already know the recipient’s cooking style.

Before you buy a knife gift, read about Japanese kitchen knives if you don’t already know about them. If you already know the right knife to purchase for a gift, check out www.koiknives.com which has a great assortment of hand-crafted Japanese kitchen knives with beautiful Australian made handles that make for perfect gift items.

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