A Craftsman's Perspective : The White Steel #1 “Montanren” Range

Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide Montanren range

In this article Mr Watanabe will take us through the Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide Montanren range.
These blades represent the heart of Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide.

When viewed as a whole, this traditional Japanese style knife has a lean and elegant aesthetic.

The hilt of the White Steel “Montanren” series is made from Yew Wood,
that is softer than Ebony but contains more oil, giving it a longer lifespan.
Even though Ebony Wood is more prone to cracking, it has become a popular choice for luxury knife handles.

White Steel was designed to have the greatest hardness (Similar to Blue Steel)
so this blade can be sharpened to an incredible edge, greater than Blue Steel, but it will not be as durable.

This particular range has been forged by our craftsmen repeatedly to develop a stronger, more resilient blade.

Steel quality is very important in making a quality knife but what is more important,
is the ability and skill of the craftsman forging it.

White Steel is a difficult Steel to work with as it has a very narrow quenching temperature range.
There are actually very craftsman in Sakai who are able to forge this steel effectively.

When sharpening this knife,
it feels very hard, but feels there will be a good sense of contact with the food you are cutting.

The edge is of course beautifully finished as you would expect.

What makes Japanese kitchen knives easy to sharpen?

A knife that is easy to sharpen is a knife has an even and uniform surface,
allowing for clean contact with a whetstone.

If the knife is uneven to start with then it will simply continue making bumps
and dips as you draw the blade across the stone.

In a quality knife,
this is unlikely, but in cheaper knives its easier to see distortions occurring in the blade.

The White Steel “Montanren” makes contact with the whetstone cleanly and smoothly and draws easily,
making it an easy knife to sharpen.

Often we say the back of the knife is life in Japanese.
If the back surface of the blade hits the stone cleanly it will lead to a good sharpening.


At Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide,
we believe we sell some of the best knives,and thankfully our customers agree.
We are happy that the feedback for the “Montanren” range
has been so positive and people continue to use these beautiful Japanese knives.