Yoshikane Tamamoku 300mm(4¾") Yanagiba
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

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Yoshikane Tamamoku 300mm(4¾") Yanagiba


- I've used and tested the knife twice. Once when it has arrived and, then one year later, took it back for maintenance so to speak. Well, sharpening to say it simple. I didn't do experiments with vegetables and all that, because I have already done that many times with my own yanagibas and there was no point in doing all that with the knife that was not mine. If you are curious about yanagibas in the role of general food prep knives then you can read other yanagiba knives reviews, I wrote in detail about yanagibas in various roles, and this one would've been no different from other 300mm yanagibas I have tested. One might say, using the same logic, there was no point in testing Yoshikane yanagiba on fish and meat either, it would've done just the same, and perhaps that's true too, but as usual if there are specifics to individual knife, they show more readily when used for designated purpose, and it matters the most how does the knife perform for its purpose. So, that was the logic for skipping general cutting tests.

Mainly the yanagiba is a dedicated fish slicer, but does fine job slicing any soft protein and as I already mentioned it can do as a general purpose knife with sufficient training. To do the testing, I diligently went shopping and got an extra fish, plus I had quite a bit of meat, which I had to slice into small cubes. For testing I've done both, slicing the raw and boiled meats. Fish cutting was performed only on the raw fish. Overall cutting performance was very high, which was expected, after all inclusive edge was15°, with 100K grit finish. Most of my yanagibas are similar or lower edge, as usual I keep them closer to 12°, but maintaining and sharpening edges with 1° precision is not really doable by hand, all numbers are some approximations. I could(barely) tell the difference between Aritsugu Wood pattern Yanagiba which has 12° edge and Yoshikane Tamamoku which is about 15°, but I still could :) The difference would have been(or was) more pronounced if I was experienced sushi connoisseur, all those things about texture and smooth cuts, but visually I could tell the cuts were very smooth. Whatever I made out of that poor fish would never qualify for a sushi, but slices were translucent. Next was cutting boiled meat into small cubes, which tends to fall apart when a knife isn't really sharp. That test went successfully too. As far as I am concerned, cutting performance was very good and the Tamamoku Yanagiba performs as it should. Normally, I'd do the testing on the end grain wood board from Dave the Boardsmith, but this time I've picked another board, which is not as edge friendly as the end grain board, but because it dull the edge quicker, it was a good test to assess edge holding ability. Technically, I should've have done more prolonged cutting tests to compare Takefu V2 steel with Hitachi Shirogami 2, but it wasn't my knife, so serious dulling and regrinding new edges was out of question. Still, the positive thing about super sharp and super thin edges is that unfortunately the initial blazing sharpness can be lost fairly quickly, if the steel is not exactly high performance. However, after one year of use by its rightful owner, I got it back and had a chance to evaluate it again.

I have a pretty good idea how it was used and how often. Basically, its use was limited strictly to meat and fish slicing. The board used in all that cutting, wasn't wood, but plastic, which puts more strain on the edge(compared to wood). Still, after a year of average(actually, more intense than average) household use, the knife was dull. However, careful examination of the edge revealed that it was primarily rolling that caused the dulling, I figure the board was the culprit. Simply put, after steeling the Yoshikane Tamamoku yanagiba on the borosilicate rod edge sharpness was restored almost completely. However, since this particular yanagiba is unlikely to receive proper sharpening for another year or more, I've decided to do a quick touch up on the Naniwa Chosera 10000x Super Finishing Synthetic Whetstone, followed by 0.50µm and 0.25µm diamond crystal loaded leather strops. I'm certain it'll last another year or more with the same use.


- Very well made yanagiba, and performs very well too. Very elegant, high performance knife in my opinion. Because of my own preferences, I'd still pick Shirogami 2 steel over V2, but for an average knife use probably V2 will be a bit easier to maintain. Yoshikane Tamamoku was certainly easier to sharpen compared with Aritsugu yanagibas, which are rather extreme. Besides, if you like patterns, Yoshikane Tamamoku knives make pretty good bargain knives compared with Aritsugu wood pattern yanagibas and others like them. Therefore, I'd say, Tamamoku V2 knives are rather middle ground between mainstream and high end yanagibas, both in terms of performance and maintenance. Price is on the higher side, but still, if you don't want to spend 600$ or 6000$ on a yanagiba, but want something better than 150$-200$ knife, Yoshikane Tamamoku offers very reasonable price and performance(for its price).


  • Blade - 290.00mm(11.42")
  • Thickness - 4.95mm
  • Width - 37.00mm
  • OAL - 450.00mm(17.72")
  • Steel - V2 steel at 63-64HRC
  • Handle - Ho Wood
  • Weight - 255.60g(8.64oz)
  • Acquired - 04/2011 Price - 450.00$

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Last updated - 05/19/19