Muneishi Ko-Bunka Ao Iron 120mm (4.7")
Hand-forged by Muneishi, Ko-Bunka is an outstanding knife with black, protective kurouchi patina. Upon first glance, hammer imprints are not obvious but if you carefully look at how the light reflects from the blade and run your fingers along it, you can still see and feel the traces of hammer blows.
Ko-Bunka shape is representative of a multi-purpose knife, which, just like Santoku, is very simple to use. Ko-Bunka is a smaller version of Bunka so if you guessed that “ko” means small or short, you nailed it. Ko-Bunka, 120mm long, is a love child of the Bunka and Petty knife. It has a characteristic Bunka shape with a pronounced tip that resembles Tanto blades.
The knife excels at tasks that require a small, versatile utility knife and gives you enough knuckle clearance so that you can comfortably chop herbs, mince garlic, prep veggies or even cut meat. By being such an all-rounder and boasting such unique looks, Ko-Bunka will take your kitchen by storm and quickly become the star of your kitchen arsenal.
The centerpiece of this knife is Hitachi's Super Blue Steel (Aogami Super), which is the very top quality of traditional Japanese steels. The Kuro-uchi (black) patina on the upper part of the knife gives it a unique and rustic appearance. This knife was heat-treated to around 63 HRC. It is a very hard steel, meaning that it will retain a super-fine sharpness for a long time. In addition, due to the high carbon content (1.4-1.5%), the knife is very easy to sharpen. Among the high carbon steels, Aogami Super is also the least sensitive to rust. It also contains 0.4% vanadium as an admixture for micronized metal grains, which gives the steel more toughness. Aogami Super is rated as the most advanced carbon steel. The outer layers are of softer, stainless steel, giving the knife extra rust protection.
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 visible impressions of the hand-forging process (round hammer dents on the blade), which gives it a beautiful finish and also prevents food from sticking to the blade.
The handle (traditional Japanese Wa) is oval and smooth, with no discernible transition between the cherry and pakka wood. It’s suitable for both left- and right-handed users.
Muneishi smithy was founded in 1955. Hirotaka Muneishi, the second-generation knife smith, is renowned for manufacturing forestry knives such as axes and machetes for the local woodsmen. Kosuke Muneishi, the third-generation blacksmith and now the head of the company, has since branched out to making kitchen knives. He mostly uses Aogami Super steel and performs all the steps himself: tempering, forging, hammering and edging knives. His knives have very nice grinds, good profile, and are very affordable.
Blade shape: Ko-bunka
Steel type: Aogami Super
Blade construction: San-mai / V-edge / kuro-uchi, damascus
Hardness (HRC scale): 63
Overall length: 247mm (9.7")
Blade length: 120mm (4.7")
Blade height: 27mm (1.1")
Spine thickness: 2mm (0.08")
Weight: 80g (2.8 oz)
Handle length: 115mm (4.5")
Handle type / wood: Japanese / Cherry, Pakka
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.
☝️ THIS KNIFE MAY DEVELOP PATINA
Knives made of carbon steels can, due to their low chromium (Cr) content, discolor and develop patina. The knife is the most sensitive when it is still new and a patina had not developed yet, but later, patina will protect the blade. These types of knives require a touch more care:
✔ Wipe it regularly with a clean and dry cloth (you can also do this during use).
✔ After use, rinse it with lukewarm water and wipe it dry.
✔ Coat it regularly with knife maintenance oil or plain refined sunflower oil.
✔ Store the knife by wrapping it in paper which will absorb moisture and protect the blade.
A patina is a thin layer that forms on the surface of oxidized steel and protects it from further oxidation. The patina should not be confused with rust. Patina protects the blade, while rust causes corrosion and deterioration of material, so it should be removed (see Rust erasers).
→ For in-depth information about patina, read our dedicated post on patina.
GENERAL KNIFE CARE TIPS:
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.
❗️A knife is a tool intended for specific use: it’s not a can opener, screwdriver, trowel, wire cutter, hammer etc. Kitchen knives are meant for preparing food.
→ 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 - shipping to Russia costs €40*. All orders are shipped with EMS postal service.
*or more, depending on the weight
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 quick, 5-steps quiz to help you find the perfect knife based on your cooking skills and the type of food you prepare.