The Art and Beauty of Japanese Kinife Finishes


Japanese knives come in different types of steel, depending on the purpose and preference of the user. However, the steel is not the only factor affecting the knife's appearance and performance. The finish style of the blade also plays a significant role. The finish style refers to the surface treatment of the blade, which can create different patterns, textures, and effects. There are many different finish styles, but here are some of the most common ones:

Kurouchi: This black coating covers the blade and protects it from corrosion. Kurouchi forms during quenching—when hot steel
rapidly cools in water or oil. It also gives the blade a rustic and natural look. It is more common on traditional Japanese knives, such as Aogami or Shirogami. Since only part of the blade is polished, they are often priced slightly lower.

Hammered: This texture is created by hammering the blade with a special tool. It is also called Tsuchime in Japanese, which means "hammered eye". It reduces the friction and sticking of food on the blade by creating tiny air pockets between the blade and the food. It is more common on stainless steel knives, such as Molybdenum Vanadium or AUS-10. Hammered finishes are often for Gyuto, Santoku, or Nakiri blades, which are for cutting vegetable and meat.

hunting knife

Damascus: This is a pattern that resembles flowing water or wood grain. In Japanese, it is also called Suminagashi or Sekiso-ko, which means "ink pattern" and "stone layer", respectively. It is created by forging together layers of different types of steel, which create contrasting colours and hardness. It also enhances the strength and durability of the blade, as well as its beauty and elegance. It is more common on modern Japanese knives, such as VG-10 or AUS-8. They also tend to be high in price.

Japanese knife

Kasumi: This is a hazy finish that covers the edge of the blade. Kasumi, also known as mist or fog in Japanese, creates a soft and smooth effect. It is common on Awase knives, which have a core steel and a softer steel cladding. The core steel is exposed at the blade's edge, while the cladding covers the remaining blade. The cladding is polished to create a hazy finish contrasting with the core steel. Kasumi is the most performed finish style on traditional Japanese knives.


Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture

Tosa City, Kochi Prefecture

Tanegashima, Kagoshima Prefecture

Echizen City, Fukui Prefecture


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