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Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku Review – Imayo Series – 165mm

The Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku has a mono steel construction. The steel is stainless and very durable. You can see the knife series on the right side, the other side has the Kai logo and information on where the knife is made. The blade length is 165mm measured from the heel towards the tip. The knife thickness is 1.8mm with no spine taper.  

 Kai Seki Magoroku Imayo Santoku
Kai Seki Magoroku Imayo Santoku

Knife Handle & Comfort

The Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku handle has a half bolstered westernized handle. It is a full tang handle that is inserted into a laminated wooden handle and held together by 3 rivets.

 Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku handle
Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku handle

The handle has nice contours and is comfortable to hold for those with a small to medium hand size.

 Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku
Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku

If you have a large hand size the handle might feel a bit small and will not fill your palms, this can cause some cramps and discomfort if you use the knife for a prolonged period.

Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku - Reference, I have a large hand size
Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku – Reference, I have a large hand size

The handle is water-resistant and is very nicely made with a half bolster for better gripping comfort at the neck area of the knife. The handle has a slight odor out of the box which will go away over time. 

Knife Profile 

The Santoku profile of the Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku has an aggressive curve upwards which is great for rocking. While you can still use a forward cutting motion you have to angle it more so it is not ideal to go for a forward chopping motion. Due to the aggressive curve and the short length of the Santoku, you have to add more travel distance to cut certain food completely.  

Seki Mogoroku Knife Profile
Seki Mogoroku Knife Profile

I recommend a pinch grip for a Santoku knife where the thumb and index finger determine the balance point. The point of balance of Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku is exactly at the half bolster. The diagonal bolster also makes it comfortable to pinch at that area. For more precise tip work the fingertip is also comfortable to hold due to the contours. The knife will be front-heavy with a fingertip grip assisting you with your tip work. 

Seki Mogoroku Point of Balance

Core Material & Rockwell Hardness 

The exact steel type and Rockwell hardness have not been specified. But it is stainless steel that is durable and tough. The Rockwell hardness on my review sample is around 56.

Seki Mogoroku Knuckle Clearance

Sharpness & Edge retention

The out-of-the-box sharpness is decent and the knife is sharpened at around a 15-degree angle per side. The Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku has no spine taper. The knife is also quite thin giving you a smoother cutting performance. However, even with the thin knife, you will notice some slight wedging on denser food like a carrot. The edge retention is around 1 or 2 months with regular honing in between before needing a whetstone sharpening session. 

Sharpened at 15 degrees per side
Sharpened at 15 degrees per side

Key Takeaway & Recommendation

The Kai Seki Magoroku Santoku from the Imayo series is a solid budget knife that checks everything that a knife should have. A nice balance point with the diagonal bolster for added comfort. The handle is on the smaller side suitable for those with a small to medium hand size. The knife profile is on the more curved side and may not be ideal for those that want to do a forward cutting motion. The knife is catered for home cooks and housewives it is a worry-free knife that can handle some abuse. You will notice that the edge retention is not great and therefore a frequent hone on a honing rod is needed. If you want a knife with longer edge retention then you may want to look at the other series that Kai provides since the steel that they use on the Imayo series is on the softer side.

Seki Magoroko Imayo Santoku
Seki Magoroko Imayo Santoku

Maintenance & Care

There are slight gaps around the bolster so make sure it is dry before storing.

Seki Magoroko Imayo Half Bolster

Due to the gaps around the bolster, it is advisable to dry the knife entirely since the gaps can be a starting point for rust to form. Due to the softer blade, you most likely need to hone the knife once a week and add a sharpening session every month or two.   

Seki Magoroko Imayo Santoku
Seki Magoroko Imayo Santoku

I N F O:

The Seki Magoroku line has different series and in the west, they have other options available each series differs a bit from Rockwell’s hardness to aesthetic and profile. For better Rockwell hardness, the Kai ”Shun” series is the more premium option.

🛒S H O P:

NA: Kai Shun Official Amazon Store
EU: Kai Shun Official Amazon Store

The other Santoku in this video with the straighter profile is from Global:
Official Amazon Global store page:

(Global Santoku G46 – 18cm – Classic series)

Amazon NA: Global Knife
Amazon EU: Global Knife

N O T E S:

The KAI Imayo Series has been bought in Asia for approx USD 25/30. The ”Imayo” and other budget-friendly series from KAI are widely available in Asia.

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Hi, I'm ChefPanko, I have worked for multiple restaurants and have decided to share my experience with you guys. I will share recipes and techniques that I have learned, taken, and improved from the French, Japanese restaurants that I have worked for. I will also explore other cuisines with you guys.

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  1. Kai knives have poor quality. My knives have several chips from sharpening. Kai took my money to ‘warrantee or sharpen’ then sent back my knife because it was serated.
    “sharpening serrations isn’t a service that we provide so we were unable to repair the damage.”
    “Lifetime sharpening’ is claimed with their knives.
    Low quality, expensive knives and dishonest service.

    1. I have replied to you on YouTube. Wish I could help but unfortunately, I can’t do much for you thank you for sharing your experience. But as said on the YouTube comment, they did not ask what knife style was going to be sent back so if you have paid for the postal cost both ways. I think it is fair for them to at least cover that postal cost for not asking for it in the first place. Also not sure if they have changed the lifetime sharpening policy or not as the current policy states that they can’t sharpen serrated knives and more.

      As I’m from the Netherlands the lifetime sharpening warranty has never been given here or advertised but I was aware that Kai USA had something like that in place.

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