The equivalent of the Western chef’s knife, gyuto means “large meat knife” in Japanese but is a great all-purpose knife for all kinds of chopping and slicing.
The word santoku roughly translates to “three uses”—designed for meat, fish and produce, the knife is essentially a smaller, more user-friendly version of a cleaver.
With a blade that’s usually four to six inches long, this is the Japanese version of the Western utility knife—great for small jobs like peeling citrus and mincing herbs.
Perfectly designed for filleting whole fish, debas have a sharp point, thick blade and gently curved, single-sided edge (flat on one side and angled on the other).
Blunt and cleaverlike, with a single-sided edge, this is great for chopping fruits and vegetables. A modern, double-edged version (the sides form a “V”) is known as a nakiri.
This long, slender knife is for slicing sashimi. Some Tokyo chefs use a version called a takohiki; the blunt tip was originally created to prevent cutting customers.