Henckels 34507-240 Miyabi 5000S 240mm(9.5") Yanagiba
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

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Henckels 34507-240 Miyabi 5000S 240mm(9.5") Yanagiba Knife


- Generally, I do consider myself to be proficient in knife sharpening. After all, I have been studying and practicing free hand sharpening for more than a decade now, and I can sharpen just about anything. Still, once in a while I do get a reminder that i ma not as good as I might think :) This Miyabi 5000S series yanagiba was once of those rude reminders. Before I've started sharpening, I wasn't really expecting any surprises, just another X50CrMoV15 knife, buttery soft by my standards, what challenge can it pose. Well, I was wrong and to be honest it was quite a nightmare to sharpen that knife properly. To this day, I have no clue why. I've started with King 1200 grit Japanese synthetic whetstone. Sharpened the right side, raised proper burr, then switched to the left side, repeated the process, deburred, tested the edge, it was quite good, shaving sharp. Proceeded to Aoto blue 2000-3000 grit Japanese synthetic whetstone, sharpened the right side again, proper burr, etc, repeat on the left side, deburr, test the edge, and blah, it's dull?! I was baffled. I haven't had that sort of mishap happened to me for a very long time. Ok, assuming I made a rookie mistake because of my overconfidence, I've dropped back to 1200 grit king, and started all over again. Exactly the same thing happened, once I deburred the blade after Aoto it was dull again. This time I was paying a lot more attention to the sharpening process, especially while I was on Auto, and still, miserable failure. That left me scratching my head for a while. At some point I thought, may be I got a knife with failed heat treatment, perhaps it was way below 57HRC the specs state. I've had similar problems with disappearing edges after deburring on very soft knives like Furi Cleaver Chopper and other stuff like that. Then I've dismissed than idea, because if it was the soft steel, when I'd see the effects on lower grit king stone, and it would've been more pronounced on that stone. After some pondering, I've decided to go step by step on the Auto stone to seen when or how it was causing the edge to go dull. So, there I was again, grinding on the King stone to get the initial edge, as before, but with Aoto I've proceeded a lot more carefully. Simply put, I'd do about 10 strokes on one side, then 10 on the other, and test the edge. Somehow, that made the problem go away. I got the razor sharp, semi polished edge fairly quickly. That was much more inline with my expectations and my sharpening ego wasn't hurting anymore ;) Although, I am still curious, what the hell was wrong the first two times anyway? May be raising burr on one side was weakening the edge and after doing the same on the other side it'd simply break off? Another possibility is that the initial edge on some production knives is fragile and you do need to grind it away before oyu get to the good metal. I dunno exactly what happened, and frankly, after spending so much time on what was supposed to be a very trivial sharpening job I wasn't in the mood to go back to 1200 grit stone and repeat the whole process with burr again. I've finished sharpening with traditional(for me) sequence of Naniwa Chosera 5000 grit synthetic whetstone, followed by Naniwa Chosera 10000 grit Supr Finishing synthetic whetstone. And the proceeded with leather strops, first 0.50µm diamond loaded, then 0.25µm and finally plain leather strops. Now Miyabi yanagiba had the edge it needed, sharp, mirror polished, hair splitting edge.

Usage, meat and fish

- Well, to be honest I didn't have high hopes for this knife, I've had my share of the X50CrMoV15 knives gone through my hands and tests, so may be it was ok for someone, but it is a yanagiba and I was comparing it with other Yanagibas I've had and there was no chance it would perform anywhere near those knives. For starters, the edge was more than twice as thick than on my yanagibas. Next weekend I've picked up both, few lbs of meat and a fillet of the fish to test with. Meat was sliced into 4 stripes and then into small cubes for the stew. The board I use for meat is hard pressed rubber. I suppose it is the next best thing after the end grain wood board, in terms of edge friendliness. Besides, I cut all my meat and fish on that board, when I use my traditional Yanagibas too, so it was a fair comparison in that regard. Even though the job wasn't too demanding or time consuming, I could tell the edge degradation on the belly section which was in contact with the board. Harder steel yanagibas exhibit similar symptoms after several sessions like that. So, the difference in performance as in edge holding performance was huge. Still, the rest of the blade which was in contact only with meat was still sharp. Then, I've sliced up filets too. I couldn't make translucent slices of the fish with the yanagiba having symmetrical edge about 30° or even thicker edge. That's one other problem with the thick edge. May be more skilled chef would do, but the fact is I can do translucent slices with normal yanagibas like Aritsugu 300mm Wood Pattern Yanagiba or Aritsugu 300mm Honkasumi Yanagiba. Ok, wrapping up, no unexpected results, because of the blade geometry and size Miyabi yanagiba did quite well slicing proteins, the only problem was translucent slices and edge holding in the belly section which was in contact with the board. I suspect folks who buy this knife because it is easy to maintain will have boards that are not as knife edge friendly as my boards are, which means more damage to the edge and consequently, more frequent sharpenings if you want to maintain its performance that is.

Usage, general food prep

- I did that part of testing because I dunno, for the heck of it I guess :) It's still a cool looking knife and I figured why not, I'll play with it some more and on the other hand, I've never used X50CrMoV steel yanagiba either, so there was some merit to this test. I did test a ton of chef's knives made form the same or similar steel, bunch from Henckels themselves, bunch from Wusthof and other western makers as well. In short the general food prep was the combination of my grand vegetable mincing session which involves mincing and shredding about 20 different types of veggies with total weight somewhere between 15-18lbs, plus on the next day I was cooking beef stew, so I did some cutting of more veggies, cleaned garlic, cut up potatoes and misc items. To be precise, I did try to cut each ingredient with the Miyabi yanagiba knife, but I didn't go through 18lbs of vegetables with that yanagiba, there was no reason or point to that. However, I still spent more than hour consecutively with the yanagiba and I could gauge handle comfortability at least ;) Before starting the vegetable test, I did touch up the edge, started with steeling on the borosilicate rod, then proceeded with 0.50µm and 0.25µm diamond loaded strops and finished on the plain leather strop. Started with softer ingredients, because sub micron edges don't last too long in softer steel knives. Minced two bunches of the Italian Parsley using push cut motion first and then chopped on the board. That worked quite well, although because yanagiba is a relatively narrow knife you have to be extra careful since there isn't much of the blade surface to work with your Gude hand, and if you are not careful you risk cutting your knuckles. Next was tomato slicing, in the air actually, just cut them in half and again, result was good, edge still was very keen. Baby spinach and spring mix went also easy, and then cucumbers were easy prey to the Miyabi yanagiba. For the record, during the veggie test I use end grain custom wood board, which is as good and edge friendly as a cutting board can get. Next was the asparagus and that was on the board, I was using push cutting again, to minimize contact with the board and preserve the edge. Quite good results, although I was slower compared to my gyutos or chukabochos, because of the narrow blade and guiding hand issues associated with it. Bell peppers were also no challenge, eggplant was cubed, and while slicing it horizontally the V edge was helpful in terms of preventing wedging, but if you are used to chisel edge knives that's not exactly crucial, but I suppose one of the reasons this model in 5000S series exists to have V edge for those who have issues with chisel edge at first place. Basil chiffonade was fairly quick and easy and the edge was holding up pretty good up until this point, but in big part because I was very careful with it and using forward/downward push cutting, avoiding board contact as much as I could. If I have gone with rocking motion I suppose the belly section would've dulled within first 15 minutes. Anyway, then it was Brussels sprouts and those things kill sub micron sharp edges on much harder knives than 57HRC X50CrMoV15 steel. I just minced half a dozen of those, simply to get the feel of the V edge yanagiba on those sprouts, but as far as feelings go, I didn't discover anything unusual, or noteworthy, narrow blade made things more difficult, but that's not yanagibas fault, like I said it takes years to master using yanagibas for general food prep and I am nowhere near that level, just messing with things. Well, I did cut few other things here and there, and called it a day. In the end, there were no big discoveries, the knife held the edge as I would expect X50CrMoV15 steel around 56-58HRC range, in other words it was quite close to what I remember form mainstream western kitchen knives an that's what it was designed for.


- If you want my personal take, then I'd never buy this knife. If I want a yanagiba, then it has to be a real one, super hard steel, super thin edge, very high cutting performance. That's what yanagibas are in essence and Miyabi 5000S series yanagiba breaks pretty much all the rules. For that, it is of very little interest to Japanese knife enthusiasts, there isn't much of a value in it. On the other hand, for other people who are used to western knives which are far less delicate than hard steel Japanese knives and want to have real Japanese sushi knife without fearing to break it, it might be a good choice :) I can't say I condone that approach, if you want yanagiba to work with perhaps you should learn to use it to some degree and care for it enough not to break it? There are plenty of stainless steel yanagibas, which are quite budget friendly too, and it's not that hard to prevent tip breakage and edge chipping on 61HRC knife. Like I said above, 5000S series did cause some confusion in the beginning, and I am guessing there's more than enough people who bought it because it looked very elegant and classy. Nothing wrong with that. However, if you are reading this review to decide to buy it or not, well think about your knife use habits. If you can take care of your knife, not bang it on the countertop, avoid tossing it into the sink full of other utensils and dishes, perhaps you should go for the real thing, the same Miyabi makes very decent yanagibas from VG-10 steel and even harder, more exotic alloys. On the other hand, if you just like how this knife looks(and I can't blame you for that), and want it as a simple meat slicer, then it will do. Obviously, there are cheaper meat slicers, but that's why I said if you like the looks :) Other than that i can't think of a reason to get this knife. The concept of yanagiba that can withstand a lot of neglect and abuse isn't exactly the one I could subscribe to.


  • Blade - 240.00mm(9.45")
  • Thickness - 3.61mm
  • Width - 35.35mm
  • OAL - 388.00mm(15.28")
  • Steel - X50CrMoV15 steel at 57HRC
  • Handle - Pakkawood
  • Weight - 228.00g(7.71oz)
  • Acquired - 03/2012 Price - 150.00$

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Last updated - 05/19/19