Hatsukokoro Kokugei Santoku

Regular price £90.00

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A classic santoku in a rustic kurouchi finish ideal for a wide range of jobs.

First Impressions

Hatsukokoro have an incredibly diverse selection of knives made in a range of steels and finishes and by small workshops and master blacksmiths alike and the Kokugei (which translates as "Black Whale" in reference to its kourouchi blacksmith finish) is a range that offers a very traditional knife construction and finish standard and allows you to really experiment with carbon steel at a competitive price point.


The blades are a traditional soft iron cladding with a kurouchi finish and the wenge handle with the striped acrylic bolster are a classic steel with a slightly more vibrant handle. The Blue #1 carbon core will develop a nice patina over time and use. 

Please note: When the remaining stock of wenge and striped bolster handles is sold, this range will all be fitted with a mono ebony handle as the wenge is to be discontinued.

In Hand

Across the range, the petty, santoku and gyuto all have a slightly more sweeping and rounded belly with shorter flat spots than perhaps is typical so these would be of particular interest to rock choppers. 

The overall finish as you might reasonably expect at the price point is totally acceptable and the knives all have a good robust feel and balance in hand.


The Blue #1 core is treated to around 62HRC so a good mid-point between robustness and hard enough to offer great edge retention and is well protected with a traditional soft iron cladding.

Ease of Care

It should be noted that this is a fully reactive knife so both core and cladding react with moisture and your ingredients. As such, the care requirements for this steel combination are a little higher than some knives. Learn more about carbon steel care here.

We would recommend periodically treating it with a little camellia oil and in the event of rust spots forming on the soft iron cladding a quick pass with a rust eraser is all you need. For long term maintenance, we recommend our carbon steel care kit.

Please note: These knives are sold with an initial coating of lacquer applied to the core steel of the blade to protect them before use and we recommend this is removed. You can do this by cleaning them with an acetone solvent and then washing with warm soapy water.

Our Verdict

A good value range of knives from Hatsukokoro, the Kokugei would definitely be one to consider as either a low risk first time forray into carbon steels thanks to the robust edge and 62HRC hardness which will give you a good level of edge retention without being too fussy. 

The overall profile of the knives is good and if minded, you could thin the edges a little further on a whetstone to squeeze a little additional performance out of them. 

They are perhaps a direct competitor to the excellent knives from Kyohei Shindo and Takeo Murata, both of which are a little thinner behind the edge than the Kokugei but both are less forgiving of cutting errors than this knife. 

Overall a good, traditional style and robust line of carbon steel knives from our friends at Hatsukokoro with some compromises in top level performance and finish but nothing you wouldn't expect at this competitive price point.

Product Quick View

Want to see a little more of the knife? Check out what the knife looks like in hand and up close.

Product details

  • Blade Length: 168mm (Measurement of the cutting edge)
  • Total Length: 314mm (Blade tip to handle end)
  • Blade Height: 44.6mm (Heel to spine)
  • Blade Thickness: 2.70mm (Spine width above the heel) 1.64mm (Measured halfway along spine) 1.48mm (Measured 15mm from tip)
  • Total Weight: 141 grams
  • Core Steel: Blue Steel #1
  • Cladding Steel: Soft Iron
  • Hardness: 62 (HRC)
  • Handle Style: Japanese
  • Handle Material: Octagonal wenge with striped resin bolster or mono ebony
  • Left or Right handed: Either (Double Bevel)

Product SKU: HAT-069

Our aim is to measure and photograph our products as accurately as possible but due to many items being handmade, finished or using natural materials, there can be minor variance in measurements and things such as blade or wood finishes can vary. We will always endeavour to provide the most accurate measurements, photos and descriptions of our products.

Some measurements such as HRC are provided by manufacturers and should therefore be used as a guide.

Protection & care for this knife

The magnolia santoku saya and santoku size (22x5cm) blade guard both fit this knife. 

Saya & Guards Knife Racks & Storage Sharpening & Blade Care

Meet the maker


Based in Seki city, Hatsukoroko employ a range of techniques and work with a selection of master blacksmiths working entirely by hand and for some ranges, they make use of modern machinery to combine craft with extreme precision.

Helping you find the perfect knives & accessories

Cutting Edge Knives is a family run business established in 2011 and based in the picturesque town of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. We love the history and craftsmanship that goes into making Japanese chef knives and accessories and the excitement and enjoyment you experience when using a truly sharp knife in the kitchen.

Over many years we've helped thousands of happy customers find their dream knife and look forward to helping you too.

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