Hand made by 5th generation blacksmith Masami Asai blade is marked Akifusa (the designer/developer of this line of knives) with a sticker on the ferrule which reads tezukuri ‘handmade’. Asai san makes knives in Takefu Japan, a small center of handmade knife making. His work is a prime example of the artistry and precision of fine Japanese knife making, not only are his knives beautiful but they perform exceptionally well.
The Japanese version of the French chef knife, gyutos are most at home with vegetables but can be used for a wide range of jobs, thin and precise they cut smoothly and wedge less than thicker knives, 180mm (7 3/8″) gyuto is a size familiar to users of 8″ European and American chef knives, long enough for most jobs and comfortable for most users.
The highest grade ‘blue steel’ (named for the blue label used by Hitachi from the mill), a carbon steel alloy made with tungsten and chromium with a high carbon content famous for it’s edge retention. Blue steel is not stainless and needs to be kept dry and wiped off after use but will not oxidize as quickly as other carbon steels. Blue steel is generally more difficult to hone than other carbon steels but rewards it’s owner with very good edge life.