Tojiro Zen Nakiri
Tojiro Zen Nakiri
The nakiri bōchō (菜切り包丁), “knife for cutting greens,” is a traditional Japanese vegetable knife. Though similar in appearance to a cleaver, it could hardly be more different—with a unique shape and balance that set it apart from other types, this handsome knife is ideal for vegetables and a must-have for anyone who loves cooking with them.
Unlike the santoku and gyuto (chef’s knife), which have narrow tips intended for cutting meat, the nakiri has a square tip and broad blade that maximize chopping power along the full length of the knife. The straighter edge ensures full contact with the cutting board, helping to cut through tough vegetable skins that a rounded edge can miss, while the rounded corner facilitates rock-chopping. Like other Japanese knives, the nakiri has a thinner blade and more acute edge than European knives, so it can effortlessly make straight cuts and doesn’t break stiff vegetable slices.
The blade is made using the centuries-old san mai (“three-layer”) construction technique, in which a hardened steel core is forge welded to a jacket of softer steel for strength. Tojiro Zen and Zen Black blades are forged with a core of VG-10 cobalt alloy steel, a high-carbon stainless steel developed in Japan. Hardened to a Rockwell hardness of 60, it accommodates a long-lasting, razor-sharp edge. The core is clad in 13 chrome stainless steel, which strengthens the blade and guards against corrosion.
The handle is crafted from lightweight chestnut wood, which provides a secure grip without upsetting the knife’s balance. The wood is fire-blackened, enhancing its durability and water resistance, and secured with a ferrule (collar) of polypropylene resin. Its D-shaped shinogi profile maximizes comfort and ease of control.