Japan, likely during the Meiji era (1868-1912), a fertile period for new blade shapes.
Blade Length & Width
Blade Length can vary widely between 9.5-14 inches (240-360mm), although 10.5” (270mm) is standard. Width is 1.5-3mm. They tend to be lighter and thinner in Japan.
Taking its shape from the traditional Yanagiba, the Sujihiki is designed for long sweeping cuts using the push or pull method. Unlike its predecessor, it is double bevelled, allowing the knife to be thinner, lighter, and easier to sharpen. As its name suggests (Sujihiki translates to “muscle cutter”), it is designed to slice raw seafood and cooked meats, where its length allows you to slice in a single motion. ‘Sawing’ or repeated cuts mark the surface of meats, especially in sashimi preparation, so knives like the Sujihiki are preferred by sushi chefs and professionals.
The western ‘carving knife’ and Japanese ‘Yanagiba’ are so similar in shape and purpose, that this may be one reason why the exact history of the knife remains elusive. In practice, the western carver and Sujihiki are closer in design than the more traditional single-bevel Yanagiba.
Tips When Using the 'Sujihiki'
Choose a length of knife that suits the size of cutting board and the types of meat you like to cook. Whether you are a fan of southern BBQ or Brazilian 'churrasco', the length should allow you to make a single sweeping cut through the protein.
Regarding technique used, it is a matter of personal preference. Both push and pull methods work well, although a good rule of thumb is to use the pull method for raw proteins and the push method for cooked. Sushi chefs favour drawing the knife back towards their body, starting with the heel of the blade and sweeping the cutting edge in a single motion across the protein, finishing at the tip.
If you want to add a Sujihiki to you knife collection you can see what we have available here - Sujihiki Knives.
Background Art by Yayoi Kusama
Knife Designed by S. L. Dolman | Koi Knives, SA