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Masutani Nakiri Review VG10 Review – Kunihira Sairyu 165mm

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)

Kunihira Masutani Nakiri Box
Kunihira Masutani Nakiri Box

Masutani Aesthetics

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. 

Kunihira Masutani  Nakiri VG10
Kunihira Masutani Nakiri VG10

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, or hard bread, or force your way through other food like nuts. 

Masutani VG10 / Kunihira VG10
Masutani VG10 / Kunihira VG10

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.

Kunihira Masutani Nakiri 12 Degree angle
Kunihira Masutani Nakiri 12 Degree angle

Edge Retention

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. 

154 grams* weight will differ per knife
154 grams* weight will differ per knife

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.

Kunihira Masutani Nakiri Spine Thickness 1.7mm
Kunihira Masutani Nakiri Spine Thickness 1.7mm

Knife handle

The knife handle is made from black pakkawood, so it is more resistant to water. The western design 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.

Pakkawood (resin impregnated wood)
Slight opening at the handle cap

Knife balance point

Masutani kept a front-heavy balance point, which I prefer on a Nakiri-style knife. When it comes to the 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. 

Front heavy balance point (where you naturally pinch the knife)
Front heavy balance point (where you naturally pinch the knife)
Front heavy balance point

Blade profile

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. 

Traditional Nakiri Profile (very flat no curve at the heel)
Traditional Nakiri Profile (very flat no curve at the heel)

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.  

Julienne (thin slices)
Julienne (thin slices)

Knuckle Clearance

There is enough knuckle clearance, but Masutani also offers a Nakiri with a higher blade length, but not all retailers provide them. 

Knuckle Clearance

Final Conclusion and my Recommendation

Masutani, also known as Kunihira, managed to keep the traditional balance point, profile, and 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. 

Kunihira Masutani choil shot
Kunihira Masutani choil shot

🛒S H O P:

Western webshop search:
Masutani Santoku VG10

Japanese webshops search:
Kunihira Sairyu Santoku VG10
Kunihira Santoku VG10

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.

Kunihira Masutani Front shot
Kunihira Masutani Front shot
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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. In the USA, this VG10 model sells in the high 60’s low 70’s, but still has had trouble competing with the VG10 Tojiro DP–available for just a few dollars more. They’ve done better with their VG-1 models, and alternate handles/surface treatments. For example, they have models with occtagonal handles, and others with a hammered surface. Do you recommend the Masutani VG-1 models?

    1. Competing is hard since they are a small team of 5+ people (and most shops that have them are Japanese specialized or import stores and only get a select few); I have not tried the VG1 models, but I have held them, and they are similar. The only difference is that the core material VG1 takes a very slightly better edge, sharper performance, but rust resistance is less than VG10, but they are very similar for the rest. They maintain the traditional balance point across their available offer.

      Originally the Gyuto, for Example, was inspired by the western chef’s knife. But they modified it to accommodate the Japanese cuisine thinner blade, middle or front heavy, straighter profile, etc.
      But most Japanese home cooks did not like the Gyuto, so they made the Santoku, which is originally still an adaptation by the inspired western chef’s knife.
      Middle Balanced straighter profile to accommodate the up and forward motion vs. rocking.

      But the western market started to get interested in those modifications. It imported them to the west, but Western customers’ habits are different, where they started changing the balance point and added a rounder profile.
      And there you have it, a Hybrid profiled Santoku (and now even a hybrid Gytuo, which is funny since the western chef’s knife inspired it, so the gap in the difference of the available knives in the west is closed).

      Since I worked in a Japanese restaurant, I had a tough time finding a suitable knife for my cuisine. (especially years back were the only Japanese knife we had was a Kai Shun).
      We had to import them from Japan, so most Japanese restaurants did a collective buy between all chefs and ordered it directly from the manufacturers. (so we are happy that finally, more and more specialized Japanese knife import stores are in the Netherlands). I’m jealous since they have a lot more options in the USA, so I hope we catch up very soon, and even in Canada, they are having more and more options than us here in Europe.

      One thing I wonder is the prices in the USA webshops with Taxes included? Since there are state taxes etc. I heard you have to submit the taxes yourself as for us in Europe the tax is already in the price.
      So if a webshop says it is 100 Euro, it is with 21% tax (Dutch tax). So when I look at the USA webshops, they do not include the state taxes, right? So $100 is without the state tax? (since the knives are priced a lot lower in American webshop compared to Canadian webshop).

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