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Masutani Santoku VG10 Review (Kunihira Sairyu) 170mm

The Santoku 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 Nakiri VG10 Review)

Kunihira Masutani Santoku Box
Kunihira Masutani Santoku 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 Santoku VG10
Kunihira Masutani Santoku VG10

Masutani VG10 Core Material

The Masutani Santoku 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. 


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 Santoku 12 Degree angle
Kunihira Masutani Santoku 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. 

140 grams
140 grams

Weight and Spine tapering 

The knife’s weight is 140grams, and the knife also has a distal spine tapering with 1.7mm at the heel, 1.6mm at the middle, and 1.5mm at the front.

Kunihira Masutani Santoku Distal spine tapering

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.


Knife balance point

When it comes to the western handle design on a Japanese knife, you will see a balance point shift. To keep the traditional balance point of a Santoku, 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. 

Half tang western handle
Half tang western handle

Pinch grip balance point

With a pinch grip, the balance point will be in the middle, so you have complete control. 

Middle balance pinch grip
Middle balance pinch grip

Fingertip grip

The knife will be front-heavy with a fingertip grip, making it great for Japanese cuisine and slicing work with the knife’s front.

Front heavy fingertip grip
Front heavy fingertip grip

Blade profile

Despite having a western handle, Masutani keeps the flat traditional Santoku profile, making it great for an up-and-forward motion. While it can still rock, it is less suitable for rocking. 

Masutani Flat Santoku Profile

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 is catered for delicate work and 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

🛒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 Santoku ”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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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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