Information on the blade materials of our products

AOGAMI / AO-KO (Blue Paper Steel)

Hitachi high carbon steel, specifically developed for tools and knives. This material has the highest wear resistance and lowest toughness. Considered as the best steel, and a very popular choice for high-end Japanese kitchen knives. Many Japanese professional chefs end up using the knives with this material. Easy to sharpen, even high hardness. Edge holding is just outstanding.  There are two types of AOGAMI.

  • Aogami No. 2 is a steel material made by adding chromium and tungsten to Shirogami No. 2. Chromium improves its tenacity, and tungsten improves its wear resistance. By adding chromium and tungsten, it becomes easier to quench and its sharp edge will last longer since it has resistance to wear.

  • Aogami No. 1 is Aogami No. 2 with more carbon. It has a lower toughness and is harder than Aogami No. 2. Also, it is more expensive.

SHIROGAMI / SHIRO-KO (White Paper Steel)
Identical to Aogami, except for the absence of Cr (chromium) and W (tungsten). It’s very pure carbon steel. Very popular knife steel for high-end Japanese cutlery and especially with Honyaki type blades. Excellent edge holding, very high working hardness. This means you can grind it to exceptional sharpness, which it retains for a long time. These blades are particularly suitable for the gentle preparation of foods – but they are prone to oxidation, which means rust.

  • Shirogami No. 1 is a steel material made from SK (carbon tool steel) by removing impurities. This steel material is difficult to quench, and the number of artisans who can forge Shirogami No. 1 is decreasing. It is said that it is steel material with a composition closest to Tamahagane which is used for making Japanese swords. Among Shirogami steels, it is the most difficult to forge and expensive.

  • Shirogami No. 2 is a steel material that contains less carbon than Shirogami No. 1. 

  • Shirogami No. 3 is a steel material that contains less carbon than Shirogami No. 2. Generally, knives made from Shirogami No. 3 are for home use. Generally, knives made from Shirogami No. 2 and higher grade steel are considered for professional use. 

GINGAMI NO.3 / GIN-SAN-KO (Silver Paper Steel)

A stainless steel made by Hitachi Metals, Ltd, a company producing Shirogami and Aogami which are the main ingredients of Japanese knives. Gingami No. 3 is a stainless steel commonly used to make Japanese knives, since it has hardness close to carbon steel Japanese knives. Because of its tenacity, it is a little difficult to sharpen, but compared with other stainless steels, it is relatively easy to sharpen, hard, and highly resistant to rust.

SK (Carbon Tool Steel)…

It is the type of carbon steel produced at the initial stage of making carbon steel from iron ore. Among Japanese knives, it is easy to quench and the knife made from this material is the most affordable.

STAINLESS STEEL is an alloy of iron, approximately 10~15% chromium, possibly nickel, and molybdenum, with only a small amount of carbon. Good Stainless steel blade kitchen knives make good rust resistance, easy maintenance, good sharpness, edge retention and ease of re-sharpening. Therefore, they have become more and more popular among beginning users to professional users in this generation.

The high carbon stainless steel is a metal alloy containing relatively high amounts of carbon. The amount of carbon can be as much as 1.2% and as low as 0.2%. The reasons for this vary with the manufacturer and the type of blade they’re creating. It is intended to combine the best attributes of carbon steel and ordinary stainless steel. The high carbon stainless steel blades do not discolour or stain, and maintain a sharp edge for a reasonable time. 


VG-10 produced by Takefu Special Steel Co., Ltd is a high-carbon stainless steel made by combining a proper balance of carbon, chromium, molybdenum, vanadium and cobalt into carefully selected, very pure raw materials. One of the most popular and high ranked Japanese Stainless Steel for sharpness, edge retention, and durability. Cobalt added to Special High Carbon Stainless Steel, often be called as “Cobalt Steel”. Many makers use VG-10 for the Damascus blade too. It is highly rust-resistant and can hold a sharp edge for a long time. Also, by adding the rare metal cobalt, both high tenacity and high wear-resistance are achieved.

This is good basic and common Japanese Stainless steel which has a good balance among high hardness, edge retention, strength and rust resistance. VG-5 is also a product of the Takefu Steel Company.

Molybdenum Vanadium Stainless Steel
One of the most common stainless steel for the knife blades. We often recommend Molybdenum Steel Kitchen knives for first users and beginning users of Japanese knives because of its characteristics. Ease of re-sharpening, good durability and rust resistance, and reasonable price range. 

AUS  8 is the stainless steel produced by Aichi Steel Corporation. It is defined by its easiness of working with and high rust resistance. It is commonly used in homes and is sold at a reasonable price.