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)
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 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.
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 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.
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.
Pinch grip balance point
With a pinch grip, the balance point will be in the middle, so you have complete control.
The knife will be front-heavy with a fingertip grip, making it great for Japanese cuisine and slicing work with the knife’s front.
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.
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.
🛒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 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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