Knives & MoreVideos

Sakai Ichimonji Shigure Santoku Review: Ginsan Steel

Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide

Knife Aesthetic & Specifications

The Shigure Wa-Santoku from Sakai Ichimonji comes with stainless steel cladding and a Ginsan core or also known as Ginasako, Gin3, or Silver #3. This core material will perform like high-carbon steel, with the added benefit of being rust-resistant. While Sakai Ichimonji does not specify the Rockwell hardness my review sample came with a Rockwell of around 60 during my testing period. The knife comes with a Japanese Wa-handle that is made from walnut wood. The cladding has a nice visible Kasumi line.

Sakai-Ichimonji Santoku- Kasumi Line
Sakai-Ichimonji Santoku- Kasumi Line

Make sure to clean the knife before use since Sakai Ichimonji added some coating to protect it from rusting during shipment. The Shigure Santoku comes with an engraved company name on the right side and on the left side a stamped steel indication.

Sakai Ichimonji Shigure Santoku Logo Side
Sakai Ichimonji Shigure Santoku Logo Side

I also opted for a free complimentary hand-chiseled kanji which is a nice free service add-on from Sakai Ichimonji*.

*Engraving is dependent on the blade steel however, some blades have such hard steel that Sakai Ichimonji cannot engrave them.

Free Optional Hand Chiseled Engraving - パン粉
Free Optional Hand Chiseled Engraving – パン粉 (Breadcrumbs)

The blade length from the neck toward the tip is around 180mm and comes with a cutting edge of 170mm.

The knife weight

With a weight of only 128 grams and combined with the excellent balance point it feels like you are not holding anything in your hand.

Gripping Style & Balance Point

The point of balance is above the heel which is also the best place to use a pinch grip for optimal control and balance distribution. By griping in that area the knife will neither be front nor handle heavy, giving you optimal control over the blade.

Shigure Wa-Santoku: Point-of-Balance
Shigure Wa-Santoku: Point-of-Balance

Knife Handle & Comfort

The octagonal Wa-handle on this Santoku will be comfortable for many hand sizes. From small to large, it will accommodate them all due to the added contours which provide a comfortable grip. The blade is also nicely sealed and placed in the middle.

Shigure Wa-Santoku: Nicely Sealed and Placed in the Handle
Shigure Wa-Santoku: Nicely Sealed and Placed in the Handle

Sharpness & Edge Retention

The Ginsan core material can take a sharp edge comparable to a high-carbon knife. The Rockwell hardness is around 60 which can last you around 6 months if used at home, and if you maintain the knife with regular honing sessions before you need to touch it up on a whetstone.

Shigure Wa-Santoku Sakai Ichimonji Choil
Shigure Wa-Santoku Sakai Ichimonji Choil

Blade Profile

The blade comes with a pretty flat heel area, a slight curve in the middle area, and a gentle curve at the front. With a flat heel, you will feel some stopping power if you push too hard at the heel area indicating that you put too much force and pressure. With a lighter grip and less downward force, you will get a good smooth gliding motion. Once you adjust your grip and power then you will have no trouble with a rocking motion. With a straighter heel and a pretty much flat middle, you don’t need much travel distance to get a clean cut. Therefore a push cut is ideal for this knife.

Shigure Wa-Santoku - Blade Profile
Shigure Wa-Santoku – Blade Profile

Distal spine taper, Choil, Fit and Finish

The knife thickness at the heel is 2.2mm, 2.0mm in the middle, and 1.0mm* at the front. And by looking at the choil you can see that this knife is extremely thin behind the edge, it is so thin that you need to be careful with the edge. But in return, you get a very smooth and sharp-cutting performance on this Santoku. The spine and the choil are also polished, so there are no sharp edges.

Shigure Wa-Santoku - Spine - Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide
Shigure Wa-Santoku – Spine – Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide

*1.0mm measured 1cm away from the tip.

Key Takeaway & Recommendation

The Shigure Wa-Santoku from Sakai Ichimonji is everything I expected from a well-made Japanese Santoku. It accommodates the push-cutting motion the best, you need less travel distance to get a clean cut. The weight is so light and the blade is so thin that it becomes an extension of your arm. It is a great knife to be used at home or at a professional kitchen. At home it will be great for pretty much all boneless tasks, so cutting fruit, veggies, meat, and fish will be no problem at all. In a professional kitchen, the Santoku is a nice add-on for the smaller task as it is so light that it won’t wear you out. All the things I love about this knife, come with a risk, while the knife is very thin and sharp, the blade behind the hairline edge* is very thin. Which means that you need to be careful. Especially for the first few uses until you have sharpened the knife a few times.

Shigure Wa-Santoku - Hairline Edge - Koba (Micro-Bevel)
Shigure Wa-Santoku – Hairline Edge – Koba (Micro-Bevel)

About Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide

Not only is the knife great, but the excellent service and attention in the care & packaging from Sakai Ichimonji also deserve some praise. The unboxing is a new experience, including complimentary gift wrapping and free hand-chiseled kanji service with your order*. Not only is the service excellent they also include a free sharpening ticket with each purchase*.

Free Sharpening Ticket From Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide
Free Sharpening Ticket From Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide

*Engraving is dependent on the blade steel however, some blades have such hard steel that Sakai Ichimonji cannot engrave them.

*Sharpening ticket is directly redeemable if you want the angle to be changed etc, keep in mind that for some requests there will be an added fee and extra processing time.

🛒SHOP:

Sakai Ichimonji Official Webshop
Sakai Ichimonji Shigure Wa-Santoku

Visit their store when you plan to visit Osaka, Japan at:
14-8 Nanbasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0075, Japan

▶ If you want to know what knife you should buy you can read 
the following article ''Choosing your knife''. 

▶ On my youtube channel, I have reviewed a lot of different knives.
You can watch the playlist by clicking here.  

▶ Click here, if you want to search for other
kitchen knives on:  Amazon.

▶ Click here, if you want to search for other 
Chinese knives on AliExpress.

▶ Check out my gear on Kit:  https://kit.co/ChefPanko 
▶ Check out my recommendation on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/shop/chefpanko

Full Disclosure: 
If you purchase from these links I get a small commission 
that goes towards supporting the channel and website.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

▶ If you have any questions about Japanese knives made in China 
or about some of the brands feel free to ask it in the comment section below.   

Thank you for your support and feedback.  

▶ Want to work with me? Please use the contact form by clicking here.

ChefPanko

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.

Related Articles

2 Comments

    1. They, unfortunately, don’t have an email notification set in place yet. Hopefully, Sakai Ichimonji does in the future.

      The best way is probably to contact them directly through their contact form and ask if they have an indication of when this knife will get restocked.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button