French cutlery vs. Japanese cutlery : what are the differences?

Posted By: Quentin Jannin In: About knives On: 28/06/2021

Between tradition and variety, cutlery is an art which, like all others, is practiced differently from one culture to another. Japan and France are two countries recognized for their historical cutlery know-how, and media like to compare them. But what really differentiates French knives from Japanese knives?

A Japanese knife needs careful maintenance

In Japan, cooking knives are characterized by their hardness and special cutting edges, which makes them difficult to sharpen. Their blades must be sharpened with a stone, a difficult technical process that requires more technicality and regularity to maintain a high performance cutting edge.

Japanese blades therefore require more stringent maintenance. They are also more fragile than those made in the West. Indeed, more a steel is hard, more it is fragile : the high hardness of Japaneese steels (66HRC) makes the cutting edge difficult to sharp, which is a critical point for the knife durability.

French knives mainly use stainless steels with about 55 HRC hardness, easier to maintain. A sharpening steel is then the best tool to use.

French knives are thus associated with a better quality/price ratio over time.

French blades : multi-purpose and ergonomics

Knives are made according to culinary habits ... In Japan, blades reply to specific specific product and way of cutting it : for example, Nakiri is for vegetables, Yanagi Ba is for sashimis... Handles are very simple and similar to each other: straight, in wood, most of the time.

Finally, the technique required to handle Japanese knives means that they are not suitable for everybody and/or for everyday use.

French knives replies to larger needs even if some are more adapted to vegetables, other to fishes and other to meat.
Ergonomics and aesthetics are very important to relieve hand and arm. Efficiency (one blade for one action) and resistance (especially for washing in the dishwasher!), and ease of use and maintain… are also delopped, for use intended for professionals and attainable for individuals.

Choose quality !

French knives as Japaneese knives are different, as they are developped according to culinary habits and customs traditions of each country. Both country manufacture knives for specific uses with different quality levels.

As a consumer, you have to be vigilant: there are Japanese knives, "Japanese knives" and Japanese-inspired knives.

The real Japanese knives, are made in Japan using the country's cutlery techniques. Very efficient, they are also generally very expensive.

The second only have Japanese style. They have been flooding the market for a few years and are in fact only aesthetic imitations too often made with poor materials and manufacturing techniques.

Japanese-inspired knives, like GOYON-CHAZEAU'Santokus, combine the use and style of the Japanese knives with Western manufacturing methods and cutting habits.

No matter where your product is coming from, make sure it is of high quality and meets your needs. This is the essential.

At Goyon-Chazeau, we strive to honor French know-how by offering innovative cooking knives handmade in France with high quality materials, in the purest tradition of Thiers cutlery.

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