Japanese blades of all kinds, from swords to carpentry tools, are so refined that to many Westerners the subtle features go unnoticed. The Nakiri vegetable knife is a fine example of a craft so skilled it may cause you to rethink the basics and become a better chef.
At first glance Western cooks would think of a cleaver when they see the Nakiri, but the Nakiri is actually a slicing knife for the perfectionists among us. The back of the 6 1/2″ blade is almost imperceptibly hollow ground to reduce cutting friction. The blade’s outside edge has a wide bevel so acute that it will only hold up if the blade itself is of high quality alloy steel, well forged and properly tempered. The Shun Pro is all of that, forged from high carbon VG10 steel with a Rockwell hardness of 61. The result is a blade that will slide through the work. If you are accustomed to blades that push through rather than cut, you may never go back to your old knives.
This advanced knife does require some changes in the way you work. On very thick jobs like cutting squash or melon, the single sided bevel will arc away from the midline. A symmetrical blade will divide a melon accurately. The Nakiri will slice smaller work thinner and with more control–if you need slices as thin as shavings, and uneven results are not acceptable, the Nakiri will be invaluable.
Even the PakkaWood handle is more than it seems, D-shaped rather than round so the orientation of the blade stays stable in your hand.