Born in 1950, knife smith Hideo Kitaoka works in Takefu Village, Echizen in Fukui Prefecture. He specializes in the production of high quality, traditional Japanese blades. In 1980, Echizen was the first production centre for forged blades to be awarded the nationally recognized Traditional Craft Product accolade. Blades have been hand forged there since the Muromachi period (1392-1573).
This 210mm yanagiba is a short knife for the breed. Yanagibas are used for slicing fish and other proteins and are therefore preferred with a long blade. This knife is perfect for home chefs or instances where space is limited.
Kitaoka forges his knives from Hitachi Blue paper #2 steel hardened to 63-64 HRC. This high carbon Blue steel is white steel with chromium and tungsten added to it. Blue #2 has the same amount of carbon as white #2. The added chromium and tungsten lead to better corrosion resistance and edge retention (as well as deeper hardening). This does come at the cost of being more difficult to sharpen and not taking quite as keen of an edge. Blue steel also tends to be a little more brittle than its white counterpart.
The knife is finished with a nice rosewood octagonal handle with black pakkawood ferrule. Please note Kitaoka installs the machi on his knives with a gap that is called Tokyo Style. It's not a flaw it's an aesthetic choice based on a traditional way of installing the handles. See photo #4 for a visual.
Steel: Blue #2
Handle: Rosewood Octagonal
Ferrule: Black Pakka Wood
Handle Install:Tokyo Style (Gapped Machi see photo 4)
Please note: We are only shipping Kitaoka knives in the USA
5Fine Piece of Steel, June 29, 2017
Posted By: Ed - verified customer
Love this knife. Very good out of box edge but better after some time on the finer stones. Great fit and finish!
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