Tojiro Shirogami #2 Kurouchi 8″

Blade Profile – Traditional Japanese Gyuto. Very slight belly, with an ever-slight flat body. This profile is different from Western knives with a more pronounced belly. Not much of a rocker compared to western knives, but not a very aggressive profile. The light rocking of onion, cilantro, garlic, etc., poses no issues. Knives in this budget rarely feel “exciting” during use – they often feel dull and cut with a “thud” rather than a “ping .”This Tojiro was more “ping-like” than “thud-like .”Due to its lightweight of only 128 grams, it was the most straightforward knife to use.

Blade Core Material – Shirogami #2 / White #2. It is a carbon steel core and will rust if left wet.

Blade Hardness – 60-61 Rockwell. The heat temper of this Tojiro Shirogami #2 Kurouchi 8″ is its greatest strength. Virtually all knives in this price point will have a Rockwell rating well under 60. Blades with this Rockwell rating can go 3+ months without needing to be sharpened, though, after 30 days, you can start feeling the edge go. 

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Out Box Sharpness – 7 out of 10

Real-World Edge Retention – As stated above, edge retention of this Tojiro was excellent. The blade feels solid, as its thickness from the spine area above the cladding line is consistent. Then from the area just above the cladding line to the edge is nice and thin. It is not sharpened and thinned to the degree a Nigara knife would be, but you are also not paying 300 dollars for a knife. Edge retention was as good as the top picks in this review.

Handle Material – Japanese Magnolia (Ho wood) 

Handle Comfort – 6 out of 10 The D-shaped (right-hand biased) handle feels very traditional Japanese, and while it is not my favorite wa (classic Japanese design) handle, it was acceptable. The area where the ferrule meets the handle’s body has a slight step that is borderline annoying and acceptable. The magnolia wood was sanded smooth and had no rough patches or splinters.

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Fit & finish – 6 out of 10 – The fit and finish are as good as you will find for a knife at this price. 

Overall – Those who have used Japanese knives long enough will know what to expect. People coming from German or western-styled knives may find it odd that there is a step between the ferrule and handle body. But this Tojiro Shirogami #2 Kurouchi 8″ was also the lightest knife in the test group, weighing 128 grams. It is deceptively lightweight; due to this, it feels the most elegant to use. The choil is nicely spaced above the handle, offering just enough space for your middle finger to rest comfortably in a pinch grip. The finishing and polishing of the spine and choil/neck are acceptable. It would be wise to spend a few minutes sanding the rough areas down, but it is unlikely that anyone will get cut without doing so. The Tojiro Shirogami #2 Kurouchi 8″ is a solid pick and best for a budget Japanese knife with just a few minor shortcomings.

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