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Shun Vs. Global Santoku

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
I'm recently in the market for a santoku, and I've basically narrowed it down to 2 choices. Either the 7" by Global or the 7" Scalloped by Shun. I know a lot about knife choice comes down to personal feel, but I was wondering if anyone had an opinion about which would be better? Thanks for your help.
post #2 of 66
A lot of it depends on how you will use your knife and it's overall comfort.

Both the Global and Shuns have narrow handles which can fatigue your hand if your doing heavy prep. The pakka wood handle of the Shun gives it more weight. I like the Damascus approach to the blade with the Shun.

There both excellent knives, and like you said, it's about personal preference.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
post #3 of 66
i learned of The Beauty today. Shun is remarkable. I held the 8, 10 inch chef knives and the santoku (it caught my eye as the clerk was about to mention it). They have a smoothness, like water. Compared to every other major brand, shun is my choice. I was giddy. Im tempted to drive 80 km to the knife store again so i can hold the others, too. has pictures as well as descriptions on the whole line(?). ahhh melt.
post #4 of 66
Just curious: has anyone looked at the Wusthof santokus? The hollow edge 7" is offered at a serious discount on Amazon ($92). If they shipped here I'd order one...

I'm also in the market for a good santoku. I haven't picked one yet but I'll keep an eye out for Shun.
post #5 of 66
I would look into Kasumi knives - they have a beautiful 7 inch santoku.
IMO stay away from the Wuesthof santoku. is a great site for all types of asian knives. They even carry Masamoto and other high end manufacturers, be prepared to throw your sharpening skills out the window though...they are tough to maintain by German blade standards. :cool:
post #6 of 66
Ksdumid are great but i must suggest looking at the furi santoku as wel as the shun and global. I like furis, they are a lot like globals but they don't hurt my hand as much and they hold an edge longer (harder metal i think)
The ingredients for this recipe:
2 cups of step the **** back
and a tablespoon of don’t mess with me
The ingredients for this recipe:
2 cups of step the **** back
and a tablespoon of don’t mess with me
post #7 of 66
the Wüsthof Santoku is good knife as knives go but it's little more than a Western knife shaped like a Santoku.

Likewise, the Henckels.
post #8 of 66
I agree AzRael. Is that a bad thing though? Can you explain why real japanese santoku is better? (I've never had one...)
post #9 of 66

Furi East West

I just got a Furi east west (santoku) and i think its great.
post #10 of 66
you guys should check out the kitchen forum in

there are two or three guys there that know more about Japanese knives than anyone I've ever met.

It helps that one guy owns his own shop. The other two...well, they have no other excuse than being downright obsessed.


FWIW, the Kasumi and the Shun knife are almost identical. They are not however, made in the same factory. I don't think you could go wrong buying either one.

I personally LOVE the way the shuns feel and look. I'm not too sure about the fatigue of the Shun though...the handle isn't THAT small...and it is a perfectly balanced blade. I couldn't recommend it more highly.

Depending on how much you want to spend, there are always other brands. or the are great places to get good blades for decent prices. The previous site has high end knives that will have any chef/aspiring chef DROOL with envy.

It really puts western steel to shame, as you can imagine the men making the knives come from a long heritage of samurai sword makers.
post #11 of 66

shun vs. global

kasumi and shun classic are very similar but the shun has a steel endcap
and the kasumi does not. just the thing for smashing a garlic clove.

and i don't know what the problem is with maintainance of the japanese
blades vs. german blades. if you look at the typical german blade, the blade
tapers down to the edge then the last 1/16" is the actual edge.if you hold
the edge up to the light, you can see the rapid cut to the edge, at mebbe
a 45 degree angle?? on many japanese knives the sides go right into the edge, giving a 25 - 30 degree angle on the edge. no wonder they are so sharp.

the japanese have no qualms about sharpening (and i mean on a stone!!)
every day after work. they realize it is a part of life. and if the knife wears away?? why worry about passing it on to your kids?? let them buy their
own knives!!
post #12 of 66
i just got alton browns paring knife by shun, its so great
post #13 of 66
I've used the Kasumi Santoku, Global Santoku, Wusthof Santoku but not the Shun. Personally I don't like the Santoku shape at all, but out of those I'd recommend the Kasumi. I have their 8" chef knife, and it's great. If you sharpen it properly and often it's very sharp.
post #14 of 66

shun vs. global

shuns are very close to the kasumis, hard to tell the difference. why don't
you like the santoku shape? as an experiment, i had a 10" forschner fibrox,
a 10' dexter-russell, and a 10" boker arbolito chef's knives all turned into
a santoku shape by cutting and rounding off the last 2" off the tips. i have
had about a dozen different cooks use these blades and there was universal
approval of them, even among the few that didn't like santokus. apparently,
what they missed most in a santoku was the extra length found in their
chef's knives. what they DID like about the bobbed blades was the precision the tips exhibited compared to a same length chef's knife.
also, a few passes on a #2000 grit ceramic rod is enough to keep them
sharp. regular steels don't work as well.
post #15 of 66
I recently bought my first Shun, an 8" stainless steel chef's knife. When I saw it on display, I stared, and then kept wandering back to it while my friends were browsing other cookware items. Once I actually held it, and felt its weight and balance, I knew I would have to buy it. I have since scraped and saved and have a 4" paring knife, 7" boning and 9" slicer coming my way.

For me, the handle is perfect, but my hands are on the small/thin side. So uh, yeah. I'm a little biased towards the Shun, heh.
post #16 of 66
===== for my brother-in-law's 50th b-day, i bought him the 10' shun
chef's knife, and i bought this over the kasumi because the shun has that
nice steel "end cap" that i had engraved with his initials and "big 5 - 0".
before that he had the usual chicago cutlery hardware store stuff with some
forschner wood handled knives and some other odds and ends. he loves
to cook but never thot much about getting better knives. now he kinda
cusses me cuz he can never go to those knives any more. the shun was so
sharp and sliced so precisely and felt so good in his hands he has now gone
over to japanese knives completely. he travels lots with his job and in tokyo
there are some small hand forged knife shops just above the tsujiki fish market
and he has brought back genuine hand forged japanese steel that you can't
find in the u.s. cuz production is too low for export. holy cow, how
beautifully made and sharp these blades are!! i have written in other threads,
anyone who has actually used these kinds of blades can NEVER say that
their german blades are razor sharp ever again. sure, the german blades can
be sharp, but never to the degree these japanese blades are!!
post #17 of 66
I have to concur, I am sold on the Japanese blades. I would certainly not mind a hand-forged one... I have family in Japan, perhaps I could ask for a favour!

And the engraving is a neat idea. I may need to pinch that and do it to my knives.
post #18 of 66
yea its more like scalpel sharp
post #19 of 66

santoku knives

I would highly recommend the kasumi titanium santoku knife, I have yet to sharpen mine and have had it for 9 months and it is just as sharp as it was the first day i got it. It is a truly AMAZING knife and the handle is alittle more form fitting than my shun knives. I have several different knives wushtof, henkels, fibrox, global and shun. The only brand comparable to the kasumi is the shun but I have to say that I will be buying the entire kasumi knife kit because it is hands down my favorite. I just wish they had a 10in chefs knife in that collection. Hope this helps!!
post #20 of 66
If this is a concern, global may work out better for you as they are much lighter than the shuns, and will weight contributes a lot to fatigue.

Myself, I like having both on hand. Generally I like my Globals better, but I LOVE the thumb/index finger bevel that the shuns have.
post #21 of 66
don't go santoku. Not good knife. get 7-8" chef or the japanese version of it (forgot what it's called)
post #22 of 66
Just a few points.

1. Don't go looking on the various hard-core knife forums. If you like a santoku, you will get nothing out of them, because they pretty much all hate that knife. I won't go into why: you want it, you like it, 'nuff said.

2. Shun vs. Global: pick what feels better to you. Some say that Global is harder to sharpen, and others say this is nonsense. The arguments rage. Both are reliable, mid-grade knives. IMO they are priced well over their quality, but that's my opinion.

3. If you want a santoku, you have the right length: 7". Don't buy one longer than that, and don't buy under 5.5". The knife has its good points, and they all happen in that length. For a longer knife, you don't want a santoku, I assure you.

4. Sharpness out of the box means nothing. You will have to sharpen this knife, albeit the sharper it arrives, the longer you can wait on this, but it's not going to be forever. If you are not an experienced sharpener, you may want to look into the sharpeners sold by these two lines, which are essentially interchangeable as far as I have heard (I have used neither). I advise you not to use the standard system for Western knives at home (and often in the pro kitchen), i.e. to steel them, then have them sharpened annually by a pro -- these knives will not respond well to this treatment, and the pro sharpener is likely to put a bad edge on these knives, because they are made somewhat differently than is usual for Western knives.
post #23 of 66
I think expert opinions are more valuable than my own, or someone elses who knows less. they don't like santaku for a reason.

from what I hear, santoku is bad period.
post #24 of 66
It's not so much that a santoku is's more just that anything you can do with one can be done just as well or better by a gyuto. The reverse isn't true.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
post #25 of 66
I didn't want to get into this, but let me give a quick overview.

A santoku is a Japanese invention dating to sometime around the turn of the 20th century. It is not clear, apparently, just who invented it or under what circumstances. Certainly by the teens and twenties it seems to have been advertised to housewives as a modern, up-to-date, thrifty, "does-it-all" knife. In that time and place, many of these notions were commonly linked, among young urbanites and urban-wannabes, with the West, and indeed, the knife appears to have arisen under strong Western influence. This is most noticeable not in the double-beveled edge (other such knives predate the santoku) but in the notion of a single knife that could be used for both flesh and vegetables.

This knife came, over the next 40-60 years, give or take, to supersede the old-fashioned nakiri (vegetable-cutter), which these days appears in popular graphic media (TV, magazines, etc.) in the background of all kinds of shots in order to indicate rusticity, old-fashioned ways, grandma, and so on. It's a rustic knife; the santoku isn't.

What the santoku is, however, is a housewife's knife. That's not a criticism: a great many Japanese women take real pride in the term shufu. There are certain advantages, when these knives are compared with their professional counterparts: the santoku is easier to use, easier to maintain, smaller (an important point if your kitchen is 4' deep including countertops, and you have small children in the house), and cheaper.

A gyuto is a very odd beast, since only in the last 15 years or so has it turned up in mainstream Japanese professional kitchens at all. It's a western (French-profiled) chef's knife, made by Japanese knife-makers according to their notions of appropriate hardness and so forth. It has largely superseded the older usuba, because the latter is much harder to learn and less all-around useful if your trade involves a significant amount of meat.

So which is the better knife? Depends what you want. If you want a 6"-7" knife, you want a santoku. A chef's knife that size doesn't work well at all. A reasonable comparison would be with a utility knife: which is better, utility or santoku? Frankly, probably the santoku, provided of course that you are not using a chef's knife in addition.

However, if you are paying a lot for your santoku, you're getting ripped off, in my considered opinion. You've just lost out on the #1 most valuable thing about this knife, which is that it's cheap. When I lived in Kyoto (untile last month), I could pick up a high quality stainless or carbon steel santoku for about $40 any day of the week, and as you may know Japan is not famous for being a cheap country to buy things. If I wanted one from a high-end fancy place that marks its lovely wares up because of the name, I could have one from Aritsugu Kyoto for about $75, and they'd sharpen and engrave it for me with a smile. When I hear that someone has paid $150 or something for a santoku, I can only laugh: why would you want to drop that kind of change on a knife like that? It's like spending $150 on a paring knife -- only collectors and lunatics need apply.

All of which brings me back to my original point. If you're looking for a santoku, and there are reasons to do so (for example, you've used one, like them, and want one), stay away from the high-end Japanese knife forums. They will simply tell you it's a bad knife, it's no good, a "true gyuto" is infinitely superior, and all that. All of this is in a sense true, under certain circumstances, for a certain value of "true." But if you already know more or less what you want, such advice is unlikely to be of much value.
post #26 of 66
Sadly, I live on the high end knife forums!:lol: And while I mostly agree with you, Chris, I have a powerful yet inexplicable lust for those Ironwood handled R2 Tanakas...the gyuto of course but the santoku as well. But I will readily admit to being one of those "lunatics"!:crazy::D

Oddly I do know one kid that loves the santoku like Dave Martell loves Racheal Ray- he's a recent culinary school grad and only 19. In his case it's mostly a case of not being experienced and simply not having used many knives.

As a knife geek I keep a few santokus around but I have to invent reasons to pull one out. Mostly I like to play with my blades.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
post #27 of 66
So have most of my clients.

In fact, this market has changed so much that I am now solely an ipso facto japanese knife distributor. My wife uses nothing else.
post #28 of 66
Not to actively revive old and buried threads, but I had to register just to ask... Chris, could you point me to these places in Kyoto, especially for a stainless steel santoku? I was in Kyoto last month and visited Aritsugu to see about picking up a gyuto or a santoku, but left much disappointed by their rather overinflated prices.
post #29 of 66

Santoku means three (3) virtues, the santoku is utilized in aisan cooking, primarily for fish, meat and vegetables.  The price is dependant on the range/quality of the knife.  Upmarket santoku cuts through hard vegetables like carrots as if you are slicing through butter.



post #30 of 66



You won't find stainless in Aritsugu, though they have stainless cladded. The prices were always high, but with the collapse of the exchange rate they are presumably beyond belief now.


If you want a perfectly serviceable, inexpensive santoku in Kyoto, go to a hardware store. Some hardware stores also specialize in blades and sharpening equipment -- "specialize" here meaning that they have rather more of this kind of thing than you might expect in the average hardware store, not "specialize" in the sense that this is the majority of their stock. A place like this is probably ideal, but you'd have to do some web-surfing and probably some wandering around to find one.

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