Hokiyama smithy made this knife just for SharpEdge. We asked them to combine their proven Yanagiba blade shape and stainless steel (AUS-8), then match it with a traditional magnolia Japanese (Wa) handle with a buffalo horn ferrule. The name Shobu refers to the spear-shaped leaves of the iris plant which the blade of this knife strongly resembles.
Yanagiba knives are designed to cut thin slices of raw fish (ideal for sushi lovers), and also for cutting large pieces of meat (eg steaks). It's a single bevel knife, which means 🚨 only right-handed users can wield it. While we usually find Yanagibas in sushi and Japanese restaurants, but there is a growing trend of home cooks owning these beauties for the weekend sushi or BBQ parties.
Yanagiba roughly translates to English as a “willow-leaf blade” which perfectly describes the long and slender leaf-shaped blade of the knife that is primarily used to fillet fish. Its fine sharpness ensures very little cellular damage in the cut surface, which is particularly important for dishes where the fish is eaten raw, because it helps to preserve the original flavor and texture of the fish.
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 Yanagiba 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.
All these are essential characteristics of a superior steel for knives:
→ 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 Yanagiba.
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).
Blade shape: Yanagiba
Steel type: AUS-8
Blade construction: Ni-mai
Hardness (HRC scale): 60
Overall length: 375mm (14.8")
Blade length: 240mm (9.5")
Blade height: 31mm (1.2")
Spine thickness: 3.2mm (0.1")
Weight: 135g (4.8 oz)
Handle length: 134mm (5.3")
Handle type / wood: Japanese / Magnolia
Kanji on the blade:
Location of the smithy: TOSA / Kōchi 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.
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 5-steps quiz to help you find the perfect knife based on your cooking skills and the type of food you prepare.