The Japanese company Hitachi Metals makes special cutting steels which represent the highest global standard and are used for almost all the Hocho we offer. These Yasuki Special Steels (YSS), named after their place of origin, are produced from iron sand, the same material that was used to make the legendary Samurai swords. They have a highly pure structure and thus offer the best achievable sharpness for cutting.
We’re pleased to introduce the Steel Qualities for Traditional Japanese Knives as follows.
Blue Paper Steel(Aogami)
Hitachi high carbon steel, specifically developed for tools and knives. This one has highest wear resistance and lowest toughness. Very good steel, and very popular choice for high end Japanese kitchen knives. A lot of Japanese custom makers use it. Easy to sharpen, even high hardness. Edge holding is just outstanding. Original Japanese knives made from these materials are treated with non-corrosive, food-safe oils (e.g. camellia oil) to prevent oxidation.
White Paper Steel(Shirogami)
Identical to Blue Paper Steel(Aogami) , except for the absence of Cr and W. It’s very pure carbon steel. Very popular knife steel for high end Japanese cutlery and especially with Honyaki type blades.
Very good edge holding, very high working hardness. This means you can grind it to exceptional sharpness, which it retains for a long time. These blades are particularly suitable for the gentle preparation of foods – but they are prone to oxidation, which means rust.
Yellow Paper Steel(Kigami)
Better steel compared to SK series, but worse than both, Aogami and Shirogami. Used in high end tools and low/mid class kitchen knives.
SK Steel series
Solid performer as a cutlery steel. Low grade steel, mainly due to impurities. Used mainly in hand tools like axes, hammers and cheap kitchen knives.
Japanese Steel(Nihonko, Hagane, Virgin Carbon Steel)
Important steel that has been used to produce knives in Japan since ancient times, providing better sharpness than common stainless steel. The Japanese steel is a premium grade of steel that boasts extremely high carbon content. It is manufactured in limited quantities in Japan. The steel is harder than German steel and has a greater sharpening potential. It also maintains an edge longer than other lower-carbon steel formulae. These features make Japanese steel the ideal material for manufacturing high performance cutlery.
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Kyoto and Hyogo, JAPAN