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Takohiki

The Takohiki is a variation of the Yanagiba that comes from the Kanto (Tokyo) region and is used for the same tasks. The Straight tip section is well suited to cutting the curled tentacles of octopus (Tako is the Japanese for “Octopus” and Hiki is “To Pull” in Japanese). The squared-off tip of the knife is also useful for lifting and transferring sliced fish the cutting board to the serving plate.

Legend states that the Takohiki was created because the Sushi chefs of the Edo era were once reprimanded for pointing the sharp tip of their sword-like Yanagiba knives in the direction of one of their customers, who was of noble birth, and that consequently they modified their knifes with a squared-off tip. Interestingly, the tradition of not pointing your knife in the direction of your customers still persists in some of the older restaurants in present-day Tokyo, where the Takohiki is still favored above the Yanagiba.

An alternative origin story suggests that the Takohiki was developed because, unlike the chefs of the Kansai (Ōsaka) region of Japan where the Yanagiba originated, the Sushi chefs of the Kanto (Tokyo) region sat down whilst cutting. This had the effect of increasing the height of their cutting boards relative to their arms, and consequently the almost straight edge profile of the Takohiki was more suitable for their seated position than the curved edge profile of the Yanagiba. The squared-off tip of the knife is also useful for lifting and transferring sliced fish the cutting board to the serving plate.

Takohiki are typically available in blade lengths ranging from 210mm up to 330mm, with the 270mm, 300mm, and 330mm sizes being particularly popular.