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Hankotsu knife blade is made to be sturdy and tough, designed for separating meat from bones. Traditionally, the Hankotsu is used to butcher hanging carcasses, and is held with the blade edge facing downwards in a reverse knife grip. With the durable edge and blade, Hankotsu knife is useful knife and often used for cutting a fish, a chicken.

However, they should never be used to cut through bones. The thumb can also be wrapped over the butt of the handle, which helps to prevent the hand slipping forwards on to the blade during piercing / stabbing cuts. Even if the hand does slip, the first third of the blade at the heel end is often not sharpened to prevent this type of injury, and is also useful for scraping. When cutting hanging meat, the cuts is normally made using a downwards pulling motion. The knife is popular with Westerners for tasks such as boning out strips, ‘Frenching’ racks, and cutting chops.

The relatively narrow blade of the Hankotsu has an gently curved cutting edge, which is angled relative to the blade spine and also the centerline of the handle. This works well for cutting hanging carcass, but depending on the item being cut, the knife does not always give enough knuckle clearance to cut directly over a cutting board. The blade edge terminates in a ‘reverse tanto’ tip / ‘clipped point’, which is perfect for piercing through skin and between joints or ribs. The thickness of the blade is a compromise between being strong and tough enough for heavy-duty cuts, whilst still being thin enough to fit in between the joints and ribs of carcasses. This blade geometry results in a stout but agile knife that is able to turn quickly when cutting around and along bones, and is also sharp enough for trimming connective tissue and fat, or for portioning meat.