I got my hands on a Moritaka AS 210mm Gyuto not long ago. I was in market for an eight-inch Japanese chef’s knife and decided to splurge a bit. I scoured the knife forums for recommendations and a number of knives made it to the top of my potential buy list. Moritaka knives were mentioned quite often so it immediately piqued my curiosity. To be honest, the reviews for the knife were mixed. Many people were praising the sharpness and craftsmanship of the blade, while a good number seemed to receive lemons. I decided to take a chance.
The technique in which the blade is crafted is said to be special. From the Moritaka Hamono website:
MORITAKA HAMONO brand double-edged knives are made using a “triple structure” technique. This technique employs a method by which a layer of solid steel is sandwiched between 2 layers of soft iron. We combine the characteristics and strengths of both iron and steel to produce blades that are super-hard yet durable. The steel core is hardened using our heat treatment techniques. The iron cladding is not as hard as the steel core, but is extremely long lasting, and is forged with the steel core to provide durability.
The look of the knife is unlike anything I’ve seen. The center layer is made of Aogami Super Steel which gives it the ability to retain a sharp edge for an extended period of time. The tradeoff is that it is prone to rusting if not properly taken care of. The outside of the blade is protected by distinctive black sheen known as a kurouchi finish. It reminds me of Ichigo’s Zanpaktou from the Bleach Manga…which is part of the reason I got it. There’s a badass element to the knife.
I was concerned about the quality of the knife when I ordered it. Was I going to get a really well made one, or one of the lemons? I’m happy to say that I got one that was super sharp out of the box and I couldn’t find any flaws. I’ve been using it for the past two weeks and it is easily the sharpest knife I have ever used. You know the term “let the knife do the cutting?” You’ll know what it means when you use it. I’ve never had to exert so little effort to cut vegetables and meat. However, it is not the most comfortable knife I have ever held. Even with the octagonal grip, I’ve used better.
Below is a video of the knife making process in the Moritaka factory. It’s all in Japanese, but it’s not too hard to follow along.