Higonokami Pocket Knife KURO-UCHI 65mm (2.6")
Higonokami is the most famous Japanese pocket knife. It enjoys the same kind of fame in Japan as the Swiss army knife does in Switzerland and around the globe.
Higonokami is a small, lightweight and durable pocket knife of simple design, suitable for versatile use. The KURO-UCHI version is a made of high-carbon SK-5 steel, hardened to around 59 HRC. Kuro-uchi is a black, untreated scaly residue left from the forging process on the top part of the blade.
SK-5 steel is a carbon steel alloy which makes Higonokami ⚠️ not stain resistant ⚠️, but easy to resharpen. This knife needs good maintenance and the blade will develop a light patina over time and use. After the use rinse it well and dry it, we recommend oiling the blade regularly in order to prevent the development of rust. Read more about how to take care of high carbon steel knives and patina in our Knife maintenance blog post.
Higonokami has no locking system, it uses friction to keep the blade securely in place. The blade can be extracted from its brass handle by pushing down on the iconic level, called chikiri. During use, we should keep a thumb on the level to prevent the knife from folding.
The shape of the Higonokami pocket knife is based on the katana, which is not a coincidence since knife manufacturing is deeply embedded in the samurai tradition. The knife first appeared in 1896 in response to reforms in the 19th century, which banned the production of weapons, so blacksmiths began to produce knives, among others also these small pocket Higonokamis. The Higonokami is produced by Kanekoma, a company with over 100 years of experience in forging knives.
When Higonokamis began to be manufactured in Miki, the knife manufacturing metropolis, it spread rapidly throughout Japan and the United States, where it was mostly used for pencil sharpening - just one of the many functions of this versatile small pocket knife.
☝️ Fun fact: The small four Kanji characters on the handle of the Higonokami mean Registered Trademark. The first three big characters translate to Higonokami (the name of the knife), and the last two are the name of the maker (Kanekoma).
|Hardness (HRC scale):||59|
|Overall length:||156mm (6.1")|
|Spine thickness:||2.3mm (0.1")|
|Weight:||30g (1.1 oz)|
|Handle length:||94mm (3.7")|
Use & Care:
- Handwash in warm water and towel dry
- Use a sharpening stone (not a honing steel!) to sharpen your knife
- Do not cut frozen foods and meat bones
- Do not put the knife in a dishwasher
- Read our comprehensive guide on proper Maintenance of Kitchen Knives.
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.