Bunmei knives are manufactured by Yoshikin, the same manufacturer of Global knives. Bunmei knives are traditional Japanese knives. This style of knife dates back approximately 150 years. The features and various shapes of traditional Japanese knives were greatly influenced by Japanese cuisine. Today, Japanese professional chefs still use this style of knife. In the United States, more and more of the top chefs are using traditional Japanese knives like Bunmei.
The major difference between traditional Japanese knives and the more familiar western style of knives is obvious at a glance. Traditional Japanese knives are sharpened with a one half to three quarter inch bevel on just one side. In almost all cases, western knives are sharpened with a one thirty second to one sixteenth inch bevel on both sides.
The reason for the one-sided edge on the Bunmei knife is too improve sharpness. The large beveled one-sided edge is much thinner than a two-sided edge. It may help you to visualize this in your mind if you think of a one-sided knife as a knife sharpened on both sides and then sliced down the middle from the spine of the knife to the edge to form two thinner knives. This thinner, sharper edge makes for cleaner cuts through the soft flesh of fish, in particular. Japanese chefs claim that a western knife with its thicker beveled edge will bruise the delicate texture of raw fish destroying the freshness of the fish. The thinner edge on the Bunmei knives is more fragile than the edge on western knives, so exercise caution and use a western knife for cutting anything solid including larger fish bones.
The balance of Bunmei knives is also very different from western knives. Bunmei knives are much more blade heavy with no bolster and only a partial tang. This is typical of all traditional Japanese knives.
Bunmei knives are made of a high carbon stainless steel. Bunmei knives also contain molybdenum and vanadium giving them excellent edge retention. Yoshikin was the first manufacturer to produce high carbon steel traditional Japanese knives. Prior to this there were only made of carbon steel.