Trying to narrow gyuto choices down...

Joined Nov 13, 2009
I've done a ton of research and reading in the last couple of weeks and I've accumulated some new info (for me) that helped to narrow my choices down.  I was kind of hung on the whole japanese/western handled choice, but after all that reading and information gathering I came to a  conclusion: The handles are different, I like both and I'm sure either one will be fine.

Having said that...

Masamoto HC, Masamoto KS, Konosuke white steel, Konosuke HD.  These would be 270mm, but I have to admit to toying with the idea of a 300mm which of course would eliminate some of these choices.  However, I'll probably bow to experience since I've noticed none of the experienced chefs have ever talked of using a 300mm at home.  I would like to hear from experienced people why this is so for information's sake.

Some questions for anyone that might know:

1.  The difference in steel between the Masamoto HC steel and the white steel they use for the KS series.

2.  Difference in white steel between different knife makers.  I'm assuming that Konosuke and Masamoto are on fairly equal levels, but I could be wrong.  I don't know a whole lot of how steel differs in knife making.  I'm guessing things like tempering, etc.

3.  The profiles are obviously different between the HC and KS gyutos.  Is there a reason for this?  Is there a particular shape that lends itself to a certain use?  Is the HC significantly wider than the KS at the heel?

4.  Is the KS thinner than the HC, or are they about the same?

5.  Is the stainless factor the only difference between the Konosuke HD and their white steel?

This will be my almost-everything knife.  I can go with the thin Konosuke because I have knives that can handle the heavy duty stuff.  I guess I'm looking for reasons someone might choose one of these knives over the other.  I realize there might not be any real tangible reasons.  It might be like my Ma used to say, "You pay your money, you take your chances..."

Any advice?
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Lots of questions. 


Japanese knives are usually made in multiples of 30mm, because that's about the length of a Japanese unit of measurement called a "sun."  A 210mm knife is short; 240mm and 270mm are medium; and 300 are long -- not because the terms have a great deal of meaning but becuase they feel that way to the majority of skilled users.

There isn't nearly as much perceived difference between 240 and 270 as there is between 210 and 240 or between 270 and 300. 

Even after you've learned to control the tip of a 300mm knife (with a good grip) they still feel a great deal more awkward than a 270 or 240mm and present greater challenges for board management.  In my opinion the slight bump in productivity isn't worth the drawbacks.

HC vs KS alloys:

The KS is made with White #2.  Masamoto doesn't say exactly what they use for the HC.  I believe it's a high-end Takefu alloy, V2-C.  Masamoto hardens KS to 63, and the HC to around 60-61. 

White Steel:

By and large the term is used to refer to one of the two Hitachi shirogami carbon alloys.  All of the white knives in your group are made from the same one, shiro #2. 

FYI, shiro means "white," and "gami" paper.  It's called shirogami because the Hitachi's Yasugi mill, wraps them in white paper before shipping.  Sometimes shirogami is called shironikou -- which you'd translate as   Hitachi also makes 3 grades of blue paper (aogami) steel, two current grades of stainless gingami (silver paper), and one or two of yellow paper carbon which is not as highly purified as either the white or blue steels.

Differences between various manufacturer's use of white steel:

You've narrowed your list down to four knives, two of which are white steel.  There's little to no difference between the alloys.  Both are small hammer forged, both are hardened to around 63HRC in similar ways.  That's almost always the case with White #2. 

They're very different knives though.  The Konosuke is most definitely a laser, but while the KS is light and thin, it is not.

KS and HC Profiles:

They very much the same where it counts, along the blade -- they are both as French as French can be with just the right amount of straight and not too much belly. 

The top lines are different and the HC is a little wider at the heel -- typical of Japanese made western handled gyutos. 

Don't overestimate the importance of either.  The HC is plenty narrow to be extremely agile, and despite the extra width granted by the late drop to the point the knife doesn't pick up any weight (relative to other western handled gyutos) and the point is still mid-line.  Not that it matters much, but Masamotos are very well "balanced" as Japanese knives go -- the result of shape as well as distal tapering.

You can't beat a Masamoto gyuto's profile, but surprisingly the Konosuke is a match.


The KS is thinner.  The HC is thin enough so that you're not fighting it, but a thin wa-gyuto will be thicker than a thin yo-gyuto. 

Konosuke HD vs White #2:

HD is not stainless, but a semi-stainless HSS.  It is tougher than the White, but not as hard.  That should mean the HD won't wear as quickly or chip as readily but it might deform more easily.  But as a practical matter, deformation is more dependent on the abuse you dish out than the differences between the alloys.  As far as I can determine, they have equal potential for absolute sharpness.

Hope this helps,

Joined Nov 13, 2009
Lots of helpful information.  Thank you.  I've been following your reviews here and elsewhere and am leaning toward a Konosuke.  Deciding between those two will be tough...

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