When it comes to kitchen knives, you can’t leave Japan out of the conversation. Japanese knives have a great reputation for exceptional sharpness and power as evident in the Nakiri and Kiritsuke. Both Japanese-style knives are popular kitchen tools thanks to their reliability. But they differ in some ways which we will explain as we compare Nakiri vs Kiritsuke.
Are Nakiri Knives good?
Nakiri is popularly known as the vegetable specialist thanks to its construction devoted to chopping vegetables. The name of the knife even says it all with ‘na’ meaning leaf and ‘kiri’ translating to cut. If you and your family are lovers of soups, vegetables, and salads, this knife is the cutting tool you want to have around you.
Moreover, the Nakiri, which commonly measures between 5 to 7 inches in length, features a straight blade with a flat front, meaning it has no top. The blade is typically double-beveled (sharpened on both sides), sharp, thin, and ultra-hard, leaving you to use only little effort to cut. The thin blade helps the knife to deliver precise and accurate vegetable slices and cuts.
Besides, the Nakiri is almost only used for chopping vegetables in a vertical-only fashion. This tool’s shape leaves ample room for your knuckles to prevent them from getting smashed, making it ideal for the chopping motion. Thanks to its lightweight design, you only need minimal effort for cutting.
While it’s not out of place to call the Nakiri a great all-around knife, it’s not suitable for working around bones or heavy-duty cutting. Cleaning the knife is quite easy but it’s commonly not dishwasher safe. With soap, warm water, you can get your Nakiri knife cleaned up for more actions.
What is a Kiritsuke?
The Kiritsuke knife is another Japanese-style kitchen tool that delivers. This knife typically measures between 8 to 10 inches long, or even more in certain cases. That tells you this is a much longer knife than the Nakiri. Some longer variants can even look like a short sword. This kitchen tool boasts a tall and flat blade. High-carbon steel is the most common material for the knife’s blade.
Furthermore, the Kiritsuke is known for its very unique look and angled tip. Mind you, a Kiritsuke knife can have a single bevel edge or a double bevel edge. It is crafted from high-end Japanese steel sourced from Aichi, a Japanese prefecture in central Honshu Island (Nagoya, its capital, is a manufacturing hub with a rich cultural heritage).
Plus, it takes at least two months to craft the Kiritsuke knife. With a carbon content of about 0.95%, the knife’s edge retention, hardness, and sharpness are enhanced. There’s also a slight infusion of chromium which reduces the chances of corrosion. The tool features a hidden tang that increases balance and strength.
Also, the Kiritsuke’s long, flat blade makes it ideal for chopping large vegetables that are beyond the power of the Nakiri. However, it’s a bit difficult to use due to its length. It’s not the type of knife you expect every member of the family to make use of. Only executive chefs in restaurants are allowed to use the knife in traditional Japanese culture.
Nakiri vs Kiritsuke Features (Face to Face)
|Length||5-7 inches||8-10 inches|
|Blade material||Japanese stainless steel||Japanese steel|
|Construction||Forged or stamped||Forged|
|Bevel||Double||Single or Double|
Standout Features Between Nakiri vs Kiritsuke
After placing the Nakiri and Kiritsuke knives side by side, we will now explain their standout features in great detail.
By now, if you’re asked which of the two knives is better for chopping, you’ll confidently answer Nakiri and you will be correct. The Nakiri is specially designed to chop veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and so on) accurately and precisely. With this type of knife, you can easily chop cucumbers to make your favorite salad like the cucumber salad.
If you notice, the examples include only small veggies. If you need to chop larger and thicker veggies such as squash and melon, the Nakiri can’t help you. But the Kiritsuke has the power to cut through large and thick vegetables easily even though it won’t give you precision cuts.
When it comes to serving multiple purposes, the Kiritsuke does it much better. The Nakiri, on the other hand, is almost only ideal for chopping veggies although it can perform other kitchen tasks. However, it lacks the versatility of the Kiritsuke. The Kiritsuke can chop and slice through various foods. But the use of this knife can be complicated as we mentioned earlier.
It’s clear to you now that the Nakiri and Kiritsuke knives are different in many ways even though they share some similarities in the kitchen. The Nakiri is your go-to tool for chopping common veggies but the help of the Kiritsuke will be needed for chopping thicker and larger ones. Comparing Nakiri vs Kiritsuke reveals both knives are great tools to have in the kitchen for everyday food preparation.