ZDP-189 Bunka Black 190mm (7.5")
|The wooden knife sheath Bunka Saya, made of beech wood, was custom-made for the Bunka. Saya protects the knife when we are not using it.|
- Knife Care
ZDP-189 Bunka Black is the first knife we designed with a help of the skillful blacksmith Osamu-san from Yoshida Hamono. The design is a result of years of our experience with Japanese knives. We wanted to create a knife that connects fine Japanese craftsmen skills with the needs of the Western-type cuisine. Meet Bunka.
Bunka was designed in harmony with our values (excellence, quality, and reliability), in line with those originating from the steadfast Japanese tradition. We also devoted special attention to certain aesthetics inspired by Japanese mysticism and a respectful attitude to tradition, nature, raw materials, the constituent elements, and the final product – in short, the quintessential values of Japanese culture.
It embodies the cream of the crop as regards what one desires in a kitchen knife: the best steel, a multi-purpose profile, excellent functionality, and an attractive look. This makes it an ideal choice for anyone looking for a selection of the best properties for versatile use. Its superior qualities will excel in a professional environment with a large volume of cutting work, as well as for daily usage in your home kitchen.
The shape of the blade is called Bunka which means culture in Japanese. Bunka makes for a highly versatile knife suitable for cutting vegetables, meat, and fish.
With its typical functionality, Bunka design is intended for versatile use in Western cuisine:
- It has a flexible profile that is wide enough at the handle,
- a gently designed belly of the blade suitable for making either long or short cuts,
- a flat back side of the blade,
- and a thin pointy reverse tanto tip for precise cuts and carvings.
The angle of the spine rapidly changes to meet the tip, which is referred to as a »K-Tip«. Besides looking badass, this shape allows the user precision and makes getting to the hard-to-get-places a bit easier.
The heart of the knife is made of ZDP-189 steel, which we selected because systematic testing has proven its superior qualities and long-lasting sharpness.
The steel contains as much as 3% Carbon (C), which is one of the main elements contributing strength and typically found in amounts of up to only 1% in other types of solid steel, while the Chromium (Cr) content, which prevents corrosion, amounts to nearly 20%. It also features 1.5% Tungsten (W), which considerably increases the abrasion resistance of steel, 1.3% Molybdenum (Mo), which helps to preserve the strength and power of steel under variable temperatures, and 0.10% Vanadium (V), the key element in increasing steel strength. Heat treatment produces steel with a hardness of 65-67 HRC.
The steel is laminated, meaning that the core is made of very strong steel covered with an external layer of softer stainless steel - also known as warikomi clad. The softer external layer protects the core steel from external factors.
The hard core of a knife is sandwiched between two layers of softer steel, reaching only up to a half of the blade’s width. This specific type of construction is used for steels that are very challenging to forge, for example for certain types of powder steels. A glowing hot piece of iron is split and a piece of steel is inserted. The new material is now forged into one piece. This creates a highly durable kitchen knife with a slightly more pliable core. The main advantage of these knives is that they are thin, sharp and retain their edge very well. Warikomi is also called the “split and insert method”.
Bunka has a double bevel (symmetrical) blade with a low profile and a V-edge grind, which gives it a good balance between the ease of cutting and robustness. This kind of grind produces very sharp edges and is wonderful at making very thin slices.
Kuro-uchi finish, the unprocessed (black) part on the top side of the blade has already developed a dark patina, which protects the blade and gives it a traditional Japanese look.
The knife bears barely visible impressions of the hand-forging process (round hammer dents on the blade), which gives it a beautiful rustic finish and also prevents food from sticking to the blade. Kanji 登録 九佐吉作 "registered as work of Yoshida Smithy in Saga Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan" has been chiseled onto the blade.
Bunka Black was fitted a traditional Japanese wooden handle, called Wa handle. The wooden handle is made of walnut wood with an octagonal shape, so it will fit equally well into the hands of right- or left-handed users.
The knife is manufactured at the smithy of Yoshida Hamono in Japan, a family company with an age-long tradition in manufacturing state-of-the-art tools and Japanese swords (katanas) by hand. Yoshida Hamono has a great deal of experience forging ZDP-189 steel in the traditional manner. See the photo story from our visit to their smithy.
The knife is laminated, forged, and heat treated by the blacksmith in his small smithy in the south of Japan. The kuro-uchi finish has a touch of rusticity and robustness that comes with the purely handmade blade. Handles are in different shades of brown, from dark brown to light brown. Therefore, each piece is completely unique.
Blade shape: Bunka
Steel type: ZDP-189
Blade construction: Warikomi / convex v-edge / kuro-uchi
Hardness (HRC scale): 65-67
Overall length: 325mm (12.8")
Blade length: 190mm (7.5")
Blade height: 52mm (2.0")
Spine thickness: 2mm (0.08")
Weight: 155g (5.5 oz)
Handle length: 125mm (4.9")
Handle type / wood: Japanese / Walnut
Kanji on the blade:
Blacksmith: Yoshida Hamono
Location of the smithy: SAGA / Saga Prefecture / Japan
☝️ Japanese kitchen knives in our store are handmade from natural materials. Slight variations in color, texture, weight and other dimensions are possible. We try to give a good photographic representation of our products, however computer screen resolution and colors do vary, so products might not look exactly as they are seen on screen.
Blade wear depends on the quality of steel, usage and maintenance of the blade. Japanese knives are made of high-quality steels. Follow these tips to keep your Japanese knife in top-notch shape:
✔ Use a wooden, plastic or rubber cutting board.
✔ After use, wash the knives and wipe them dry.
✔ Use a magnetic rack, knife blocks, or use protective knife sheath (saya).
✔ A good cutting technique is your best bet to prolong sharpness.
✔ Use sharpening stones to sharpen the knife.
❗️Don’t leave the knife in the sink. Wash it by hand.
❗️Don’t wash the knife in the dishwasher.
❗️Don’t use the knife on glass, ceramics, marble or steel surfaces.
❗️Don’t scrape the food off the cutting board with the edge of the blade. Use the spine of the knife instead.
❗️Knife is a tool intended for specific use - cutting food. It is not a can opener, screwdriver, trowel, wire cutter, hammer etc.
→ For more details, read our guide
on Maintenance of Kitchen Knives.
🤙 Contact us if you need some help. We reply within 1 business day.
- €10 - flat worldwide rate with DHL Express (express delivery, 2-5 business days).
- FREE - all orders over €300 (DHL Express).
- United Kingdom - shipping to UK costs €15. All orders are shipped with UPS Express (2-3 business days). Free shipping on orders over €300.
- Russia (currently not available) - shipping to Russia costs €40. All orders are shipped with EMS postal service.
DUTIES AND IMPORT TAXES:
We ship all orders DDP (duties & taxes paid). This means you will not be charged for any import fees and taxes (including VAT). All our prices are final. The price you see at checkout is the final price, no hidden costs.
- Europe: 1-2 business days
- US & Canada: 2-4 business days
- Rest of the World: 3-5 business days
Our return policy lasts 30 days. If more than 30 days have gone by since the day you received your order, unfortunately we can’t offer you a refund or exchange.
→ Read our SHIPPING & RETURNS policy for more info. We strive to solve any issues fast and with as little hassle for you. If you have some additional questions, please contact us.
Each knife comes with:
✔️ Instructions and knife care leaflet.
✔️ A preventive Band-Aid – the knives are very sharp! 😉
✔️ Original box from the blacksmith, which we wrap in an old Japanese newspaper sheet – so every knife is ready to be passed on as a gift as soon as it hits your doorstep!
✔️ We also offer a special gift wrapping option with the traditional Japanese washi paper.
Still doubting which type of Japanese knife should best fit your needs? We created a quick, 5-steps quiz to help you find the perfect knife based on your cooking skills and the type of food you prepare.