The Nakiri from Masutani comes in a cardboard box, and it comes with a plastic blade cover. The knife is protected with a nice handle cut-out that prevents the knife from wiggling around. (Click here for the Masutani Santoku VG10 Review)
The knife comes with multiple layers of softer stainless steel and has a visible cladding line. The blade has a matt finish and comes with a half-tang western handle.
Masutani VG10 Core Material
The Masutani Nakiri comes with a VG10 core with a Rockwell of 60. Keep in mind that the VG10 is quite brittle and should not be used to slice through frozen food, bones, cheese, hard bread, or force your way through other though food like nuts.
Edge durability & sharpened angle
The knife is sharpened at a 12-degree angle per side. This angle is great for sharpness and delicate slicing. Therefore you should be gentle with the knife-edge since it prioritizes sharpness over edge durability.
With a Rockwell of 60, the knife can hold the edge for around 5 to 6 months with regular honing sessions before needing whetstone maintenance.
Weight and Spine tapering
The knife’s weight is 154grams, and the knife has no distal spine tapering, which is typical for a Nakiri. The thickness across the spine is 1.7mm.
The knife handle is made from black pakkawood, so it is more resistant to water. The western designed handle is also great since Masutani added contours. However, the handle is on the shorter and narrower side and might be less comfortable if you have a large hand size. The cap of the handle has a slight opening so make sure it is dry before storing.
Knife balance point
Masutani kept a front-heavy balance point, which I prefer on a Nakiri style knife. When it comes to western handle design on a Japanese style knife, you will see a balance point shift towards the back. To keep the traditional balance point of a Nakiri, Masutani decided to give the knife a half tang western handle. So you keep all the benefits of a western handle without sacrificing the traditional balance point.
Despite having a western handle, Masutani keeps the flat traditional Nakiri profile, making it great for an up and forward motion. While it can still rock, it is less suitable for rocking.
Benefits of a flat profile
A Nakiri is great for mandoline style slicing. It is excellent for making thin slices and julienne. Because the Nakiri is small, agile, and lightweight, it will also shine with horizontal cuts.
There is enough knuckle clearance, but Masutani also offers a Nakiri with a higher blade length, but not all retailers provide them.
Final Conclusion and my Recommendation
Masutani, also known as Kunihira, managed to keep the traditional balance point, profile, and a lightweight knife while having a western-style handle. Combined with the thin blade and low sharpened angle of 12 degrees, you can see that the knife prioritizes sharpness over durability. Keep in mind that the handle is short and narrow and might be less comfortable if you have a large hand size.
🛒S H O P:
I recommend buying the Kunihira Masutani Santoku locally. You get a better return policy and warranty.
If you want to import it from Japan, keep in mind that customs/import tax is on your behalf.
N O T E S:
Most western webshops will name the Nakiri ”Masutani”, Suggesting that the blacksmith is Masutani and that he makes the knife. In reality, the company is called Kunihira Sairyu, which is also what the kanji says” Kunihira”. Therefore the Japanese-based webshops will name it Kunihira Sairyu and won’t mention Masutani.
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