The Tojiro Shirogami Yanagi 210mm knife belongs in the sashimi group of knives, and is meant to prepare sashimi, sushi, slices of raw fish, and seafood. The knife is also increasingly popular with western cooks for a multitude of tasks including roast carving. Its name 'yanagi' means 'willow blade' as this knife has long and pliant characteristics of a willow branch, and the most important principle in using a yanagi to prepare sashimi is not cutting down but pulling with its long blade in a single motion. Sashimi and sushi are ideally prepared so that sliced cross-sections of fish are as smooth as glass, shiny, and sharp. The Tojiro Yanagi is designed specifically for this purpose.
Important design points for it are as follows:
Length: the Tojiro Yanagi has a long blade to cut a fish block only in one direction, using a pull-cut motion. (Zigzag cutting creates a poor quality cross-sections).
Thickness: this Yanagi has a very thin blade, requiring very little force, reducing tearing and smashing of delicate proteins.
Hardness and Durability: this blade is made from Shirogami (White #2) steel which is durable and takes a very sharp edge. The Shirogami core (visible at the polished edge) is wrapped by a second layer of Shirogami cladding (the smooth satin finish closer to the spine of the blade).
Finish: The Shirogami cladding has a smooth satin finish on this blade, which glides through protein. The steel is also reactive, so extra care is needed to keep the blade dry lest rust set in. Being a reactive blade, the Tojiro Yanagi will develop a beautiful patina over time.
Single Ground: The Tojiro Yanagi is blade is angled on one side only. This allows control in the blade angle for delicate cutting and allows for ease of sharpening. This yanagi is a right-handed version in which the blade is ground only on the right side (front face).
Cutting Direction: While almost all western knives are used to push and cut, this traditional Japanese knife is used to pull and cut instead.
This is a great value carbon steel knife for those looking to develop their skills with sushi and sashimi prep, or just looking for a better protein slicer.
Blade length: 203mm
Total length: 340mm
Spine thickness at base: 2.9mm
Blade height: 29.1mm
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