André Baranowski
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1. The knife known as kamagata usuba originated in Osaka and has a distinctively curved tip suited to intricate vegetable-carving methods, as well as juliennes. The kamagata usuba shown has a handle of Japanese yew, an evergreen native to Japan, and-a rarity among old-style Japanese knives-a blade of stainless steel. André Baranowski
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2. Less delicate kitchen tasks like butchering poultry and breaking down whole fish traditionally call for a deba, which has a broad, wedge-shaped blade that can easily cut through bone and cartilage. André Baranowski
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3. The usuba, originally from Tokyo, is considered the most versatile of traditional Japanese knives; its sturdy, wide blade is well designed for slicing vegetables. The usuba is the preferred tool for katsuramuki, the technique of cutting vegetables (like daikon and cucumber) into paper-thin sheets and scrolls. The usuba shown is made of carbon steel; its handle, attached to a buffalo horn collar, was carved from magnolia wood. André Baranowski
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4. The takobiki, also developed in Tokyo, is customarily used for preparing sashimi and, especially, octopus. The type of knife shown is called a suminagashi takobiki, which is distinguished by an elegant wave pattern on the blade, a result of a special forging process. André Baranowski
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5. Used mainly in the preparation of sushi and sashimi, the venerated yanagi has a thin, elongated blade and a slightly curved tip that make it ideal for producing paper-thin slices from fish filets. The yanagi shown was forged by the master blacksmith Keijiro Doi in Sakai and has a core of carbon steel fused to an iron jacket; a piece of carved water buffalo horn attaches the blade to the ebony handle. André Baranowski

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