What is the Difference Between Japanese and European Knives?

While often called knife by many, not all French knives are made in France. Germany is famous for their knife producers. Japanese cuisine is very popular, so it’s no surprise that they have a special style of japanese knife set.

What makes the difference between the knives? You can use different knives to properly prepare different foods. Even the chef knife, which is the heart of the kitchen, will come in a variety of styles.


European knives tend to weigh more than Japanese knives. This is an advantage for many French cooks who grew up in French cooking. It is possible to chop even the most difficult or boney foods with a sturdy German or French knife. The French knife’s original purpose was to join large cuts of meat.

Japanese knives are more delicate and elegant than American style knives. They can be used to make extremely fine cuts, and even complex cuts. Pro chefs will not feel fatigued if they do a lot. Sometimes, however, delicacy comes at the price of strength. An inexperienced chef can cause irreparable harm to a Japanese knife if he uses it for too difficult a job.


The bolster is the part of the knife that connects to the handle and blade. The bolster adds strength and balance to the knife by strengthening weak points.

European-style knives have a bolster that extends from a blade’s spine down to the foot. It creates a finger shield and a sturdy, but still dull heel. It also adds weight to the knife.

However, bolsters are only an extension of the handle in Japanese-style knives. The knife’s blade can be sharpened to the heel. This makes it significantly lighter.


These days, the rules for handle shape and size aren’t so clear. European knife manufacturers are designing knives with ergonomic handles. Japanese knife makers are increasing their export market focus and making knives in a more traditional European style. The following statements can, however, be attributed to the past.

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