How to not ruin your Japanese knives

Comment ne pas ruiner un couteau japonais

Japanese kitchen knives are true works of art that combine the know-how of craftsmanship with maximum performance. Connoisseurs know that there are several types of knives intended for different uses. Nevertheless for some, having a knife for each task may seem superficial, but it is very important to take it into account to avoid accidents. If you are new to the field, don’t panic. This blog aims precisely to inform you about the good habits to adopt to maintain your artisanal knife.

The different uses of a Japanese kitchen knife

Japanese knives tend to be thinner and forged from harder steels compared to most European knives. Because of these characteristics, some people think that Japanese knives are more fragile and easy to damage. In reality, a Japanese knife can last a lifetime if it is well maintained, because most of the time the damage is caused by misuse or falls. Each type of blade has been designed with a specific use in mind, so the ideal would be to use each knife for its intended task. For example, we will not use a gyuto (chef’s knife) to break the bones of a fish, because we have a good chance of damaging it. On the other hand, you can use a deba, a blade designed to cut whole fish.

Below are some easy recommendations for maintaining your knife.


  • Wipe your knife after each use, especially if you work with acidic products.
  • Always wash the knife by hand, with water, soap and a soft sponge; especially no abrasive sponges.
  • Be sure to wipe the entire knife thoroughly before storing.
  • Apply a thin layer of mineral oil to the blade (in the case of an oxidizable blade), if you plan not to use the knife for an extended period.


  • Never leave your knife in the sink or in the dishwasher.
  • Never cut frozen or very hard foods like bones. Be sure, you will break it.
  • Avoid twisting the handle when cutting very dense foods, such as cheese or vegetables such as squash. Everyone, without realizing it, will twist the handle to loosen a blade stuck in food. This could crack your blade and believe me it is not pleasant. When you cut dense foods, the trajectory must be very straight, if the knife gets stuck you simply have to pull it back and start cutting again until you obtain the desired result.