What is the Difference between Japanese and European Knives

Though often called French knives but not all French knives are manufactured in France. Germany is well-known as a country that produces knives. Japanese food is extremely popular and so are their culinary tools, particularly a certain style of chef’s Japanese Knife Set.

How is the design of these knives different? Different knives can be used to cook different types of food. The chef knife, the mainstay of the kitchen, can have many variations.


European-style knives tend be heavier than Japanese knives. This is an advantage to many French traditional cooks. A good German or French knife will cut through tough or difficult foods. The French knife was first used for slicing large meat pieces.

Japanese style knives are typically lighter and more elegant. They can make precise cuts, even extremely complex ones. Professional chefs can also avoid fatigue by doing lots of prep work. Delicacy is often at the cost strength. Unsuspecting chefs have caused irreparable damage to Japanese knives when they used them for too tough jobs.


The bolster on a knife refers to the metal portion that connects a knife’s handle to its blade. The bolster can be used to balance the knife or add strength to any weak spots.

European-style knives feature a bolster that runs from the spine of a knife to the heel. The result is a strong but dull heel and finger guard. It also adds to knife weight.

For Japanese-style knives, the bolster is simply an extension of your handle made from solid metal. The blade of the knife can also be sharpened from the heel to create a lighter knife.


Today, the rules about handle size and form aren’t always as straightforward. European knife manufacturers are increasingly creating ergonomic handles for their knives. Japanese knifemakers are also designing knives in a more European-styled style, catering to more export markets. Traditional wisdom has taught us that the following can be trusted.

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