Kiritsuke（切付）literally means “slit open”. This blade shape is an all-rounder in Japanese cuisine. Therefore, it is widely used for the preparation of sashimi and the fine slicing of vegetables.
Kiritsuke knives are a hybrid design. They combine features of Japanese Usubas and Yanagibas and are actually one of the few multipurpose traditional Japanese blades. These sword shaped knives combine the features of the Usubas which are dedicated vegetable knives and the Yanagibas which are used to slice raw fish for sushi.
Traditionally these knives have a single-bevel design. However the double bevel Kiritsukes, often called Kiritsuke Gyutos, are becoming more common. This is due to the flexibility and ease of sharpening compared to the single-bevel design.
The double bevel edged Kiritsuke is available in a variety of different styles. These range from knives with a blade profile identical to the singe bevel edged Kiritsuke, tall rectangular versions that look like a long Nakiri with a ‘reverse tanto’ tip / ‘clipped point’, and knives which look like a combination of Kiritsuke and Gyuto. All of these types of Kiritsuke have less blade curvature / ‘belly’ than the the typical Gyuto. This makes them less ideal for ‘rock chopping’, but better suited to ‘push cutting’ and ‘pull cutting’.
The user must be highly skilled with traditional Japanese knives in order to utilise this unique Kiritsuke style design and single edged blade properly. Traditionally, these knives are used only by the executive chefs. They are a symbol of status and due to its difficulty in use and cannot be used by other cooks.
Kiritsuke knives are typically available in blade lengths ranging from 240mm up to 330mm, with the 270mm size being a popular alternative to the Gyuto.