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Yoshihiro vs Shun Cutlery: The Ultimate Japanese Slicing Knives Comparison

By Bobby B. |  August 29, 2019  | Kitchen Knife Comparisons

The Yoshihiro vs Shun challenge is finally here!  Which will come out victorious in the battle between these time-tested, hand-made Japanese knives?  Well, just the fact that you landed on this page shows that you have good taste and you’re interested in two of the best Japanese kitchen knife brands around.

Yoshihiro vs Shun:  Brand Comparison

You may have already read in our Shun Knives Review that Shun Cutlery products are made by the Kai Corporation in Seki City, Japan.  Interestingly enough, Yoshihiro Cutlery knives are made in the very same city!  In fact, there are many many Japanese knife manufacturers in this area, and they’ve been there for a very long time.

Shun, pronounced like “shoon”, relies on skilled artisans to hand-make all of their knives so they get the utmost attention to detail.  They are very nice knives and due to their hand-made nature, they are of high quality, but also carry a relatively expensive price tag when compared to other mass-produced kitchen knives. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, Yoshihiro knives are also hand-made my artisans, including many of the etchings on the blades themselves.  It’s quite spectacular to think that you can still buy and completely hand-made knife from start to finish.  Although, it’s true that you’ll pay extra for this.  Yoshihiro knives can range in price from just under $100 to over $1000 per knife in some cases! 

Along with all the all the standard kitchen knives these Japanese manufacturers produce, they’re also both very well-known for their high-end yanabigas, or sushi and sashimi knives.  More on this later.

Sushi chef cutting avocado

Yoshihiro vs Shun:  The Knives

The knives made by each of these brands are all of high quality and both are revered that way be professional chefs.  It wasn’t until recently, in 2008, that you could even start buying Yoshihiro slicing knives here in the United States.

Yoshihiro Knives

Unlike most knife manufacturers rather than having a strict line-up of knife collections, Yoshihiro seems to be all over the place with the knives they produce.  You really do get the one-off feel from them when shopping for their knives.  While they do make several different types of knives, their slicing knives are by far the most popular and that includes their yanagibas (sushi knives).

Yoshihiro makes very traditional Japanese knives.  They must have hundreds of different options!  At the time of this writing, it appears they make single and double-bevel knives in over 20 different steels.  Many of them are made with very high-carbon content as they make some of the hardest steel blades around with ratings in the mid-60s for Rockwell Hardness.  In almost all cases, you buy Yoshihiro knives one at a time.  Here are a few of our favorites and a link to more at Amazon. 

NSW Usuba

Yoshihiro NSW 46 Layers Hammered Damascus Usuba

VG-10 Gyuto

Yoshihiro VG-10 Hammered Damascus Gyuto

Damascus Sujihiki

Yoshihiro VG-10 Sujihiki

Shun Knives

Shun has 7 standard knife collections (see our reviews) and each is made with a different Japanese steel.  The steels range from VG2 to Shun’s proprietary VG-Max on up to Blue Steel and SG2.  They offer a great range of kitchen knives from the affordable to the high-end, with several options in between.   Many of their knives have hammered or Damascus finishes for added strength and beauty.  Shun also offers many kitchen knife sets that home chefs and professionals alike can purchase to build-out their kitchen. 

Premier 8″ Chef

Shun Premier Chef Knife

Classic Boning

Shun Classic Boning Knife

Hiro 7-pc Set

Shun Hiro 7-pc Knife Set

Yoshihiro vs Shun:  The Conclusion

Usually in our kitchen knife comparisons, we pit two or three knives against each other and write about each and every similarity and difference between them.  When comparing Yoshihiro and Shun however, they are quite different companies despite both being great Japanese knife makers.

We don’t believe it’d be fair to either brand to compare any two knives from them.  It’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges.  Yoshihiro makes some VERY high-end yanagibas that Shun doesn’t even pretend to compete with.  These are knives only used by professional sushi chefs because no one else could afford them or would have a use for them.  If you want an extremely well-crafted Japanese slicing knife and just want the best money can buy, buy Yoshihiro!

Shun on the other hand has a more traditional business model with the good, better, best line-up of knives and appeals more widely to more customers than Yoshihiro.  Most kitchen knife enthusiasts know what you’re talking about when you mention the Shun Classic or Premier Series knives.  If you want a very good, highly-effective Japanese knife for your home kitchen, buy Shun!

…unless you’re looking for a yanagiba, then buy Yoshihiro.

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