Left-Handed Knives

Compared to many Western kitchen knives, Japanese knives aren't majoratively "double-bevel" or double-edged. Infact, many Japanese knives are incredibly special purpose such as Deba and Yanagiba knives. This of course, includes which hand to use the knife in. As a result, left-handed knives are often made for those who need them and are very important - read along for a brief explanation! And of course, you can see our range of left-handed knives here.


The Single-Edge Bevel

Before we get into explaining left-handed knives, we must first discuss why single-bevel knives exist in the first place - thus creating a need for left-handed knives. Centuries of slicing delicate seafood staples such as salmon, tuna and bream resulted in the evolution of the single-edged Japanese kitchen knife. On single-edge (sometimes called single-bevel) knives, one side of the blade is near or fully flat while the other side, facing away from the user is perfectly shaped and sharpened. This edge is considered much sharper than edges on double-edge knives as the sharpener and craftsmen can focus solely on one exact angle, creating a uniform cutting angle to suit the knife's purpose. Single-edge knives due to their design also encourage clean-angled cuts and allow for long and clean strokes to be done easily (with practice,) which is important when slicing fish and other seafood for sashimi, as sashimi's mouthfeel and taste can be hindered if they are not cut correctly. This can sometimes make single-edge knives trickier to use, but with wonderful results after some practice.


Left-Handed Knives and History

Japan has a historical leaning towards being right-handed. For example, there were very few to no left-handed samurai during their era. At the time, left-handedness was seen as a disability and actively trained out of people where possible. This resulted in single-edge knives being optimised for right-handed users, and why a majority of those knives even today suit right-handed people. Even some handle shapes, such as the Chestnut or D-Shape handle shape are optimised with right-handed users in mind.

Furthermore, in the world of Japanese cuisine at one time being left-handed was also seen as a disadvantage. The way sashimi was cut, prepared and served all had to be changed to accomodate for left-handed users and this was seen as incorrect. For us, Japanese cuisine is an important culture to protect and preserve - but we want to put the power in the hands of the chef, and encourage them to be able to safely and easily use their dominant hand. For any chef, we believe what is most important is making sure that they have the mose useful tools and ingredients to them at their disposal, so that they can make the best cuisine possible.


Left-Handed Knives Today

Nowadays, this stigma is breaking and most knifemakers produce Japanese style knives in left-handed variations on a small scale, or as special orders. The majority of the Japanese (and worldwide) populations remain right-handed, but left-handed chefs are just as important! For this purpose, we have a large left-handed knife selection in our Osaka store, and take custom orders for such knives as well.

If you are left-handed, or invite people who are left-handed to your events or house to cook along with you, or even want to give someone a left-handed knife as a gift idea - contact us. We can recommend you just the right knife, or even create something custom for you. Additionally, we have left-handed knives on our website to start your culinary journey immediately!