What Knife steel does Kamikoto use?

Discussion in 'Kitchen Cutlery & Tools' started by KalkiKrosah, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. KalkiKrosah


    May 2, 2018
    My father recently purchased some Japanese knives off of a facebook ad. I'm proud of him for buying them when they were on a steep sale, as the MSRP is $1200 and he got them $350, but now he's coming to me for knowledge on whether or not he made a good purchase.

    They feel good in the hand, the sharpening has some minor nicks but nothing I can't fix myself and the balance doesn't seem too bad for an otherwise heavier than average knife. But the main thing I am looking for is whether they are stainless steel or carbon steel? Some research brought up Niigata steel but nothing beyond that. So would anyone have a more detailed answer for me on what Niigata steel is and how it should be cared for?
  2. jc57


    Nov 28, 2012
    "Niigata steel" would be steel produced in the city of Niigata, Japan or the prefecture of Niigata where it is located. It is meaningless other than to tell you where it was made. If I referred to something as "Pittsburgh steel" it would not tell you how it was made or what it was, just where. If they aren't rusting, I am pretty sure they are stainless steel.

    From reading posts on other forums, the knives are made in China, the steel used is not particularly good, and they are basically an overpriced rip-off to sucker in the uninformed. They are apparently very good at web page design and marketing tactics using Facebook and other social media, though.

    Here's a thread you can read through: https://cheftalk.com/threads/kamikoto-knives.91253/page-4

    So bottom line - he made a bad purchase. How to maintain the knives? However you would normally maintain knives with a soft steel that doesn't hold an edge well.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  3. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 1, 2013
    If a product that was, $1200 bucks is now only a bit more than a 1/3 of that price.......Buyer beware! They are most likely SS because if they were Carbon you would know by know from oxidation/ Rust..
  4. KenHash


    Sep 11, 2014
    The Kamikoto site explains their steel:

    "Steels We Use
    Our blades are forged from 420J2 steel (Genten series) and SLD steel (Ganjo series). With a HRC of 53 +/-2, the Genten series offers the benefits of a practical, highly corrosion-resistant blade. We recommend the Genten series to customers who do not mind tending to and sharpening their blades with a whetstone from time to time. While SLD steel is far more likely to chip and rust over time, it compensates with a significantly higher HRC of 62 +/- 2; these knives tend to retain their edge over time."

    420j2 is a very rust resistant stainless, but generally considered soft garbage by Kitchen Knife people. Outdoor Knife people are familiar with it as an outer layer for laminate steels.
    SLD steel on the other hand is described at CKG site:
    "SLD steel by Hitachi is an excellent steel for kitchen knives. The base of the steel is SKD11 in JIS ( = Japanese Industrial Standard ) mainly used for dies fit for punching or stamping. The main features of the steel is hard, tough and strong against wearing. Hitachi has improved it for better work and longer life, and named it SLD. The main chemical compositions of it is : C 1.4-1.6%, Cr 11.0-13.0%, Mo 0.8-1.2% & V 0.2-0.50%. Generally the steels which contain Cr 13.0% or more are called stainless steel. SLD has close to 13.% Cr and are fairly resistant for rust. Due to high carbon like 1.5%, the HRC after heat-treating reaches about 60point. I have not checked the real HRC of this SLD but due to forging, can expect 1-2 or 3point higher. Furthermore, by combined with Cr, carbon makes and forms what it is called the primary carbide with HV ( = Vickers ) 1,800-2,000 hardness, equivalent to HRc 62-63. "

    So much for the steel. Kamikoto is considered a bit of a joke by serious Kitchen Knife Fans because of their marketing, manufacture in China, and prices far above what many people consider fair for the product. You can buy REAL Japanese knives made in Echizen, Sakai or Seki for the same or less.
  5. KalkiKrosah


    May 2, 2018
    Quick update: I got a return email back from Kamikato. Here's what was written back to me when I inquired about their steel and how to care for it:

    Hello Ryan,
    Thank you for contacting us! Kamikoto knives are made from high-quality steel from Honshu in Japan. Specifically, our Genten blades are forged from 420J2 steel, and our Ganjo blades are forged from SLD steel.

    With a HRC of 53 +/-2, the Genten series offers the benefits of a practical, highly corrosion-resistant blade, but it does require more tending to and sharpening than the Ganjo series. The Ganjo series blades have a higher HRC, 62 +/-, which means that while the blades require less tending to, they are also more susceptible to chipping. We recommend our customers consider their knife care experience.

    Kamikoto recommends that knives be cleaned immediately after use. Wash the knives carefully in warm water with a damp sponge and dishwashing soap. Use moderate amounts of mild dishwashing liquid.
    Do not use abrasive cleaning solutions or scrubbers. Dry the knives carefully with a soft, clean towel. Ensure the knives are completely dry before storage. Use Kamikoto’s natural ash wood storage boxes to ensure careful preservation of the Kamikoto blade.
    Avoid placing high-quality knives in the dishwasher. This is because knives and cutlery rub against each other or against other objects during the wash cycle – this can leave scratches, damage the blade or damage the plastic finish on the cutlery basket.

    Please let us know if there is anything else we can help with.

    Kind regards,
    The email does check out in some areas. Honshu is written on the knives my father ordered and not Niigata like what I found in my research. The information I found on Kamikoto likely needs to be updated.

    I don't know much about the steels they listed. From a quick google search 420J2 is a surgical steel, so it confirms that it is stainless, and one of its common uses besides kitchen knives is that it is used in scissors. SLD seems like its a harder steel and is used in dies for punching and stamping, and is more than likely a stainless steel.

    And I asked about how to care for them to see if they recommended rubbing the blade down with mineral oil after each use, but if soap and water is all that is recommended then that confirms that it is stainless steel to me.

    I still don't know if the steel on my father's knife set is in their Genten line or their Ganjo line, but if I rummage through some of the packaging I should be able to find out for sure.
  6. KalkiKrosah


    May 2, 2018
    My father bought these knives on a whim because of the ads he kept seeing. The ad that made him make the purchase said that supplies of the knives were almost gone. He's happy with them but I'm waiting to see how long it will be before I have to sharpen them for him. He was very adamant that these knives were top quality and that they were the best out there. I thought that was Shun, but he seems happy with his purchase so far.
  7. KenHash


    Sep 11, 2014
    Those Ads are another reason why they are looked down upon. A lot of folks are turned off by their marketing. I have no first hand experience to speak as to quality, but I can absolutely assure you that they are not the "best" out there. In fact Shun isn't either. But at least Kai is a real company with a history, the largest cutlery company in Seki Japan. Anyway, if he's happy that's fine. Most of us are happy until we learn about better things. Don't know which series he got but if it's the SLD steel series remember to take care of it as a carbon steel knife.
  8. KalkiKrosah


    May 2, 2018
    They seemed alright out of the box. Not perfect as I noticed a chip on the Chef's knife, but the other two came out with a good edge. I am hoping that they don't make sharpening them a chore but we'll see. I'll probably invest in some leather strips and make a home made strop and show my father how to use it so he can hone the edge himself after each use.

    I do have some experience with High Carbon steels. I have a Himalayan Imports Khukuri that I make sure to take good care of. Rinse it off, wipe it dry, put some mineral oil on it and put it away. Its more time consuming but Carbon steel holds a much better edge than stainless.
  9. KenHash


    Sep 11, 2014
    I never hone my Japanese knives. The only one that I do is a Henkels in their usual 4116 that I figure is about 57 HRC. Routine honing keeps the soft rolled edge straight and clean. But my Japanese knives are all harder so I just go through 3 water stones. I don't think hard edges benefit from honing as much as soft ones do.
    Japanese chefs customarily use Tsubaki Abura (Camelia oil) on their carbon steel knives as it is edible. I use it when storing my white and blue steel fish knives. I don't know if mineral oil is the same in that respect.If it is then that should do fine.
  10. true north

    true north

    Dec 27, 2014
    I keep getting emails and other marketing shinola from Kaikoto - they are very slick at marketing and creating the illusion that these knives atr of good quality.

    Many thanks for the insight you have provided for us, jc57 - I certainly won't be buying any of these knives now.

    A person's money would be much better spent on the chef's knives made by Chris Reeve. He has a solid gold reputation for quality, craftsmanship and value.
  11. ICutMyselfToday

    ICutMyselfToday Basic Member Basic Member

    Dec 2, 2020
    I did buy a set - 3 knives for $120 which pretty much convinced me they were not made in Japan. They are sharp and they are well built, but also deceptive (IMO) stongly implying that are made in Japan.

    They will spam you to death with their ads.

Share This Page