Japanese blades are claimed to the superior in the world of knives. Whether it is Japanese-styled knives or Japanese steel knives, the functionality of those knives is hard to beat. Therefore, such knives are adored by both professional and home chefs. Japanese knives are virtually perfect for the task they are dedicated to, performs outstandingly in the kitchen, and have the seal of confidence of countless chefs and knife enthusiasts.

Same as that, Japanese steel is also on another level; their razor-sharp cutting edge, pronounced balance, agility in maneuvering, and not to mention the top-notch quality of the blade makes it stand the test of time.

The Japanese blue steel knife, similar to the white steel knife, consists of a pure form of high carbon steel; which takes on the edge effortlessly and retains it for a longer period too. What’s more, for increased strength and durability, it adds chromium and tungsten to its build. So blue steel is guaranteed to deliver you unmatched strength and sharpness along with a longer-lasting edge. Let’s learn more about this steel, what to look for and what to look out for!


Overview of Blue Steel Knife

Blue steel, also known as Aogami, is one of the most renowned steel series that we can get our hands-on. Its premium qualities and features make it as expensive as it is. Blue steel is a composition of high carbon steel with minimal impurities through Tungsten and Chromium, which enables the steel to become harder than its competitors yet with the longer edge retention and wear resistance.

The aogami steel uses the shirogami steel as the base and adds extra elements to enhance the functionality. Therefore, the aogami steel boasts a high HRC score of 62-66 on average and holds an edge for an extended amount of time.

Maintaining an aogami, do not use it on tough and dense food, and don’t twist or bend it. While the enhanced hardness increases the core strength of the blade and helps keep the edge sharp longer, it also makes the blade vulnerable to brittle and rusting. Before each use, hone the blade with a 1000 grit diamond sharpening rod for high performance. Resharpen the knife in 6-8 months, by whetstone if necessary. Hand wash the blade with a mild soapy solution after using it and wipe it dry; so, rusts won’t form. Oil both the blade and wooden handle from time to time to preserve the finish and increase the lifespan of the knife. You may also try to have a patina form on the blade, which works as a coating on the blade and slows the corrosion significantly. You can look up in the internet about more in depth knowledge about patina and oxidization. Using a sheath to protect the blade while storing is also a wise decision.


Types of Blue Steel Knives

Blue steel knives, aka aogami knives, have many varying types based on steel’s construction material. However, the broad two types are, Aogami and Aogami Super. The regular aogami steel comes in two subtypes, Aogami#1 and Aogami #2.

Aogami#1: This version consists of a higher count of Carbon (1.2%-1.4%), Chromium (Cr), and Tungsten (W), enabling it to ensure superior edge retention. Furthermore, the wear resistance and sharpness of this blade are exemplary, it scored 64-65 on the HRC scale. Aogami#1 can be found in 2 types, A and B; the major feature that differentiates both of them is the amount of carbon content.

The A version has 1.3%-1.4% carbon, while the carbon content of the B version sums up to 1.2%-1.3%. Because of this difference, the upkeep for the B version is easier than for the A. On top of being the hardest one, the A is also the one likely to rust more. Nonetheless, both versions are recorded to be sharper than Aogami#2.

Aogami#2: This version is more common in the market due to its affordability, and it’s also the most durable option. With 1.0%-1.2% carbon content, it scores 62-64 on the HRC scale, which is a lot softer than the Aogami#1, making it easier to sharpen. It’s also found in A and B types. A with higher (1.1%-1.2&) carbon, and B with lowered (1.0%-1.1%) carbon count. The B version is more popular as it is easier to forge and the easy maintenance and low price are attractive to beginners.

Aogami Super: Aogami Super is the upgraded version of Aogami#1. It adds extra carbon to approximately 1.45%, and with Cr and W, Aogami super offers added Molybdenum (Mo) and Vanadium (V) which results in enhanced hardness and the best edge retention among all other aogami variants. The Rockwell Hardness for this one is 65-68, so it can take a very sharp edge in no time at all. But on the downside, this also makes it prone to chipping, so maintenance is a delicate task with this one. What’s more, it’s also the most expensive option out of all.


Characteristics of Blue steel Knives

Size & Weight: Depending on the knife’s type that the blue steel blade is used, and the material of the handle, the overall length would vary. Generally, it ranges from 9-13 inches in length and weighs between 4.5-7 oz.

Blade Length & Material: The aogami blade can measure between 6.5-9.5 inches in length. The blade features a thinner profile and is usually single-edged with a blunt and straight spine. The sharp end of the blade usually comes with a flat edge, which is easier to sharpen. The material can be any of the variations of aogami blades, but the Aogami#2 and Aogami Super is the more popular choice for blue paper steel blades.

Handle: The elegant Japanese blue steel blade is famously accompanied by the Wa handle, ensuring a firm and slip-proof grip. The 5-5.5 inches long handle is often constructed with pakkawood, chestnut, walnut, etc. The tang inside the handle is usually half tang.



Q: What makes aogami steel different from shirogami steel?

A: Even though both are high carbon steels, due to different chemical construction and varying carbon content, the features of the blue paper steel and white paper steel are significantly different. The blue steel contains chromium (Cr) and tungsten (W) in its construction, while the white steel is pure high carbon steel. Therefore, the blue steel has higher edge retention and hardness, whereas the white steel is sharper.

Q: Where can I get the best blue steel knives?

A: The market presents a vast option of Japanese blue steel knives to choose from. Any Japanese knife store will have them; Spyderco, Jikko cutlery, Yoshihiro, Kagayaki, Aritsugu, etc. brands are proud manufacturers of some of the best-selling knives in the market. These can be found in physical stores, official websites, or on Amazon for fast delivery.


Appropriate Uses of Blue Steel Knives

The Blue steel knife provides excellent sharpness and balance so good it shames other steel knives. Such blades are known to be extremely thin and light, so they can produce fine slices for salads and prepare the stage for cooking. This is why blue steel is mostly used as the blade for kitchen knives, such as gyuto, yanagiba, deba, etc.

The narrow edge of the blade can be utilized to cut fruits, vegetables, herbs, spinach, and other organic products as thin as you want. An experienced chef can use this knife to his advantage; various shapes and sizes according to his needs can be achieved – such as dicing, mincing, and slicing paper-thin or wedge-like pieces easily. The upside of the aogami blade is that it’s crazy sharp, so it can cut through food like they’re water, so you don’t have to force the blade at all. Moreover, the steel is perfect for preparing poultry items, such as chicken, duck, turkeys, etc.; chopping tender meat is like a breeze for blue steel knives. Similarly, it comes in ultra-handy in cutting fish and seafood for cooking and making sushi.

But there are some restrictions to using this knife; the superior hardness also makes the knife prone to brittle. So, you absolutely cannot attempt to cut frozen food with it; use it to cut tender and boneless meat only, and also, do not seek to tenderize meat with it. Refrain from grabbing an aogami when you need to crush nuts, as it can damage the blade instead. Unfortunately, cutting dense food like chocolates, cheese, stale bread, etc., is a no-no area as well. Apart from these few cutbacks, appropriately using an aogami will inevitably prove to be one of the best decisions you’ve made.



Japanese blue steel is both a convenient and elegant choice for kitchen knives. It offers a complete package of qualities required for professional kitchen knives while lacking virtually nothing. It’s also one of the hardest steels among high carbon steel blades and cuts like a beast. Although however tempting as these blades may seem, there’s more than meets the eye. Before purchasing such a chic and costly piece, researching is a must as you cannot take this blade lightly.

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