What's in a name?
That which we call a kitchen knife by any other name would cut as well. A kitchen knife is any knife used in the preparation of food with name and function of each style dictated by the shape and size of the blade. Use this guide to learn about the most popular Japanese kitchen knife styles.
Double-Bevel Knife Styles
Gyuto, which literally translates to "beef-knife", is known for being a great multipurpose knife designed to resemble the Western chef's knife with a sweeping curve from the heal to the tip. Chopping or push-cutting near the heel is the preferred method for preparing vegetables. However, different types of produce may require different slicing techniques.
The Gyuto is also used to rock-chop harder vegetables, to make fine cuts at the tip, and pull-cutting or push-cutting meats. Blade sizes range from a smaller nimble 180mm to a larger 270mm which has much more slicing power, with the in-between sizes being suitable for general usage.
The Santoku (which translates to "three virtues") is a widely-used multi-purpose knife, used to cut vegetables, meat, and fish. This knife type is generally flatter and shorter than the gyuto knife, with a less sharply-pointed tip.
Typically ranging in size from 165mm to 180mm in length, it's small size and flat edge allow for easier maneuverability and require less space for cutting. Due to its usability, a santoku knife is commonplace in many Japanese kitchens.