High-quality Japanese kitchen knives are forged from the same materials and handmade using the same process as Japanese swords. Back in the days of the samurai, the same craftsmen who produced katana, swords, also made hōchō, Japanese kitchen knives. The town where I bought my knife, Seki, is home to smiths whose families have been making swords and knives for 25 generations!
The thinness of the blade is the key to quick and easy chopping. Although many Japanese knives are single-edged, nakiri knives are usually double-edged, which makes it easier to cut straight slices. The lightness of the knife itself also helps me to chop quickly. I know some cooks like a heavier chef's knife with a rounded end that lets them rock the knife up and down as they chop, but I much prefer the lighter weight of the nakiri-bocho. It feels like a super-sharp extension of my own hand.
Although it takes a little more care to keep the edge of my blade sharp and free of rust, this knife always feels worth the extra effort to me.
• Find a similar knife: Shun Wasabi Black Nakiri Knife, $34.95 at Amazon
Have you ever used this style of knife?
(Image: Anjali Prasertong)