Hokiyama Kakugata-Usuba 165mm (6.5")
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Hokiyama smithy made this knife just for SharpEdge. We asked them to combine their proven Usuba blade shape and stainless steel (AUS-8), then match it with a traditional magnolia Japanese (Wa) handle with a buffalo horn ferrule. Usuba is a proud member of the traditional Japanese trio (along with yanagiba and deba knives) used to prepare sushi, sashimi and other Japanese specialties! The word Kakugata refers to the specific rectangular shape of this knife - kaku means square in Japanese.
Hokiyama Kakugata-Usuba 165mm (6.5") blade length is a dedicated knife for vegetables only. When cutting firm vegetables such as carrots, it is important that the blade cuts, not splits, as can often happen with thicker knives. Japanese cuisine emphasizes the importance of seasonal ingredients, for which there is a specific term "shun". Shun is the essence of the season, food that can be enjoyed locally and seasonally and there is an emphasis on creating dishes that use such ingredients in cooking all over Japan. For the preparation of fresh and quality seasonal food we, of course, need a knife so sharp and precise that it minimally damages the cell walls of vegetables and avoids reducing the quality, taste, and appearance of the prepared dish. And this is where Usuba comes into play - the single bevel blade enables precise chopping of vegetables on the kitchen board, and due to its height and straight edge, it can also be used for peeling larger tuberous vegetables, such as daikon, into long and thin slices. This process is called “katsuramuki” and is one of the most difficult and complex Japanese cutting techniques. Usuba a single bevel knife, which means 🚨 only right-handed users can wield it.
The blade features a delicate high polish and a hand-engraved kanji signature. The handle is made of the most commonly used handle wood in Japanese knives - magnolia wood. It is preferred wood of Japanese sushi chefs due to its antiseptic properties and it is easy and inexpensive to rehandle as there is an abundance of magnolia handles on the market. Magnolia wood is a soft, light-colored wood that needs some extra maintenance as it can stain easily, so we recommend having clean hands before using the knife.
Where the blade meets the handle, you may notice a special feature called Machi spacing. This is a small gap between the lower part of the blade and the handle, which can be seen mostly in single bevel knives. It is a feature that pays tribute to Japanese swords and is typical mostly in the work of blacksmiths located in and around the Tokyo area. So don't worry, it is not a flaw in assembly of the blade and the handle, but rather a homage to Japanese forging tradition that could be displayed on a magnet right there on your kitchen wall.
The heart of the knife is made of AUS-8 steel, a popular Japanese steel from the Aichi steelworks that is incredibly resistant to rust, yet simple to sharpen.
AUS-8 steel contains high amounts of carbon (0.7-0.75%) and is also high in vanadium (0.10-0.26%) and molybdenum (0.10-0.30%). It also has a high percentage of chromium (14.5%), making the blade corrosion-resistant and increasing the hardness, durability and the tensile strength of steel mix.
This carefully balanced composition does not only endow the blade with exceptional hardness (60 HRC) but also good wear and tear and rust-resistance properties.
→ Long lasting sharpness: 60 HRC hardness and high carbon content make the blade razor-sharp and help it retain its edge for a very long time.
→ Rust-resistance: due to high chrome content (14%), the steel is very resistant to corrosion. Even so, you should not skip any of the steps of blade maintenance: wiping it with a dry cloth after use and storing it correctly in a dry and safe place are important steps for prolonging the service life of your knives.
→ Wear and tear resistance: the composition of this steel mix also makes the blade very resistant to wear and tear.
Due to the choice of materials and precise final treatment of the blade by hand, the blade is simple to maintain, retains its edge for a very long time and is perfect for sharpening on water stones. These are essential characteristics of a traditional Japanese single bevel knife, such as Usuba.
Suitable for first-time buyers of a Japanese kitchen knife. It can also serve as a wonderful gift!
Hokiyama Hamono is a leading smithy in Kochi Prefecture in Japan. They have recently celebrated their 100-year anniversary, founded in 1919. Hokiyama Hamono is known for their quality as they follow the tradition of hand-made blades that has been around for over 800 years. They retain the handiwork and traditional craftsmanship that is passed down from generation to generation while striving for the ever-new knowledge and innovation. Despite the fact that they make knives according to the traditional methods, they follow the modern technological guidelines in the field of metallurgy, material processing and innovations in production processes. Hokiyama, in their own words, is a fusion of tradition (土佐 一), innovation (無限) and practicality (左近).
|Hardness (HRC scale):||60
|Overall length:||300mm (11.8")|
|Spine thickness:||4.60mm (0.2")|
|Weight:||185g (6.5 oz)|
|Handle length:||130mm (5.1")|
|Handle type / wood:||Japanese / Magnolia|
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.