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5 Reasons Why Buying Shun Knives Is a Good Choice For You

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Purchasing a knife or set of kitchen knives can be a risk if you do not know something about the company and the knives they make. Shun is a well-known and respected knife brand, but what makes these knives good, and why are they a popular choice?

Shun Cutlery knives are good quality knives due to the traditional knowledge of the Japanese manufacturer and the quality of the materials and craftsmanship used to make the knives. Shun knives are handcrafted to create the perfect kitchen knives with excellent edge retention and durability.

Shun is a knife brand that has been around for a long time and has developed a dedicated following of knife users in the professional and amateur chef sector. The characteristics of these knives and how they are made make them worth investigating for every serious knife owner.

Why Are Shun Knives Good?
Why Are Shun Knives Good?

If you are interested in checking out the best Shun knives, you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).

Why Are Shun Knives Highly Rated?

Popularity and respect are two characteristics a product gains after years of excellent quality products and many satisfied customers.

Shun knives have been around for longer than most of us have been alive, which is a testament to their product and their knowledge about making excellent knives.

Shun, or Sun Cutlery, is a knife brand that belongs to the Kai Group, which is currently run by Koji Endo, a direct descendant of Saijiro Endo, the company’s founder.

The highly-rated reputation of Shun Cutlery knives results from various factors, including the following.

  • Tradition and history. The traditional knowledge of the Japanese people and the history of the Kai Group is a foundation for the quality of the kitchen knives the company produces. A long record of delivering consistent quality products is a heritage that not many modern companies can boast.
  • Quality of craftsmanship. The Japanese dedication to perfection comes through in producing every handcrafted knife from the factory.
  • Quality of materials. A kitchen knife is only as good as the steel produced, and Shun knives are made from exceptionally high-quality steel.
  • Consistency. A brand does not get a reputation for quality knives if the quality level is not consistently good.
  • Customer-centric philosophy. Shun knives are made for their customers, and the company listens to the needs of the knife users and adapts designs to be more acceptable to the user. This does not detract from the traditional style or the knives’ quality. Shun still has a classic traditional Japanese kitchen knife range.

Shun Has A 100+ Knifemaking History

The Kai Group is a Japanese company that has been making blades for more than 112 years. During the company’s extensive history, they have learned a thing or two about making excellent sharp-edge tools!

They also had the Japanese traditional knowledge of excellent sword-making to draw from, and the company started in Seki, a city known for its skilled sword-makers.

The company was started by Saijiro Endo and initially produced razors and folding knives. The company’s name changed over the years and finally became Kai Cutlery, but it expanded in recent years to become the Kai Group.

The brand name for their range of kitchen knives, Shun, is a Japanese word, pronounced “shoon,” like the moon, and has the connotation of eating local, fresh, in-season food.

This is when ingredients and food are at their peak of perfection, a concept Shun puts into every knife that comes out of the factory.

TIP: Japanese knives have a reputation for being the best kitchen knives available. Check out the main reasons why in the article below:
5 Crucial Reasons Why Japanese Knives Are the Best

Shun Makes Handcrafted Knives

While modern machines have been incorporated into the manufacturing process for Shun knives, the knives are all handmade.

Even if new technology is used, the company needs to retain the handcrafted traditions for their kitchen knives. Modern machines speed up production, but the quality expected from Japanese knives is maintained by the human involvement in the knives’ creation.

There are more than 100 steps that are part of the handcrafting of each Shun Cutlery knife. The dedication to perfection by each craftsman is displayed in the consistency of the knives that come out of the factory.

While the human touch is an integral part of manufacturing Shun knives, the modernization of the knives comes from the steel used to create each blade.

What Steel Are Shun Knives Made From?

Shun uses Japanese steel to produce its range of knives, but to produce a superior product, modern steels produced using technologically advanced techniques are used as the blade material.

The knives pay tribute to tradition in style and craftsmanship but offer quality and durability due to the superior modern steel used in the knives.

Sun knives are generally made from 3 main types of steel, all of which are classified as modern super-steels.

  • VG-10. A highly-refined, modern stainless steel using high-quality steel from Japan. VG-10 has excellent stain resistance and holds an edge better than other stainless steels.
  • VG-Max. This steel has higher levels of chromium and vanadium, providing enhanced corrosion resistance and better edge retention due to its toughness. VG-Max can be hardened to a higher Rockwell hardness, allowing the knife to be sharpened to a much finer edge.
  • SG2. SG2 is powdered steel with a much finer grain structure than VG-Max or VG-10. This produces very hard steel, which retains more flexibility and reduces the chance of chipping the thin sharp edge. 

VG-Max is a proprietary steel developed by the Kai Group specifically for specific knife ranges. Knives made from this steel are not available from any other manufacturer. 

Shun Cutlery also produces knives made with Damascus steel. The central core steel in all their Damascus steel blades, which will become the knife’s cutting edge, is made from one of the three super-steels.

The cladding steels used in Damascus are made from a range of steels that impart different characteristics to the blade, protect the core steel, and enhance the overall beauty of the knife.

TIP: Most genuine Japanese knives are made with Japanese steel, which imparts specific characteristics to the blade. Check out the complete list of Japanese knives steel types in the article below:
Japanese Knives Steel Types (Complete List with Explanation)

What Knives Does Shun Make?

Shun Cutlery is a specialty kitchen knife brand from the Kai Group. There is a range of knives and knife sets produced under the brand, but all use the same quality steel to maintain the quality the brand is known for.

There are differences in designs between some of the knife ranges produced under the Shun brand. Some knives are created in the tradition of authentic Japanese kitchen knives and have traditional blade shapes and handle designs.

Wa-handles or traditional Japanese knife handle styles may be unfamiliar to many western knife users. Shun realized this and produced several knife ranges with western style handles for a more familiar feel for the USA and Europe knife users.

The material used in the handles varies between the knife ranges on offer, from traditional Japanese wood to synthetic.  

The steel used to produce these different knives is the same. The difference is the knife tang, handle design, and the balance between the blade and handle.

What Shun Knives Should You Buy?

What Shun Knives Should You Buy?
What Shun Knives Should You Buy?

Shun knives are a little on the expensive side, but the quality of the steel and the design of these knives make them well worth the expense. These knives could conceivably last a lifetime with the proper care.

If you are new to Shun knives and want to buy a sample of knives, we have selected 3 Shun Cutlery knives you should consider to get a feel for their products.

The first is not a traditional Japanese knife, the second is a Japanese-style kitchen knife, and the last recommendation is a traditional Japanese knife.

We have selected these knives to give you a broad view of the types of knife styles Shun Cutlery offers.

Shun Cutlery Classic Serrated Utility Knife

The Shun Classic Serrated Utility knife is not a traditional Japanese knife but carries the hallmark qualities of excellence we expect from Shun knives.

This Shun Cutlery Classic Serrated Utility Knife (Amazon link) has a 6-inch blade from Shun’s VG-Max steel. The blade is Damascus steel with a cladding of 68 layers of stainless steel over the VG-Max core.

You can expect high corrosion and stain resistance and excellent edge retention, typical in bladed made with this high-quality steel.

The cutting edge is serrated, which is one of the aspects which is non-traditional for Japanese utility knives. Traditional Japanese utility knives are called Petty and do not have a serrated cutting edge.

The serrated edge stays sharper for longer and adds strength, durability, and versatility to the cutting edge, making this knife suitable for a range of tasks in the kitchen.

The utility knife can be used on soft and hard-skinned fruits and vegetables and makes an excellent knife for preparing ingredients for sandwiches, including meat and cheese, and even cutting the sandwich once constructed. 

The bolster is integrated into the blade steel and transitions smoothly to the D-shaped handle made from ebony-colored pakkawood, preventing moisture and bacteria from accumulating on the handle.

The D-shape handle fits snugly in the palm of your hand and can be used by right or left-handed people with equal ease.

If you are looking for a versatile utility knife in the kitchen, you can’t go wrong with this Shun Classic, the blade stays sharp for ages, and Shun offers free sharpening if you are unsure how to do it yourself on a serrated edge.

TIP: Serrated blade knives have an advantage in how long they stay sharp, but the knife will need sharpening at some point. Check out the complete guide in the article below:
DIY Guide: Sharpening A Serrated Knife With & Without Stone

Shun Cutlery Sora Chef’s Knife

The chef’s knife is arguably the most versatile and can process many kitchen ingredients. Of all kitchen knife types, the chef’s knife is the most popular and the most likely to find in practically any kitchen.

The Shun Cutlery Sora Chef’s Knife (Amazon link) is not a traditional Japanese kitchen knife. It is based on the Japanese Gyuto design but has not stayed true to all the standard Gyuto features. This is why it is referred to as a Gyuto-style chef’s knife.

The design deviates from the traditional Gyuto in the blade shape and handles design. The blade is 8 inches long, which is the perfect size for a chef’s knife.

The blade is a San Mai style, meaning three layers of steel are used in the construction of the blade. The central core steel is VG-10, providing a razor-sharp, robust cutting edge, with 420J as the outer cladding layer on the VG-10. 

This steel combination gives stain resistance to the blade, with a keen edge more typically seen in pure high-carbon steel blades. The blade edge features a stylish hamon that displays the different steel in the blade composition.

The cutting edge has more of a curve than the traditional Gyuto, which promotes the rocking chopping motion many western chefs prefer to use when preparing ingredients.

The handle is made from a thermoplastic PP/TPE polymer blend which provides durability and a firm grip. The handle is not the traditional Japanese knife handle shape but is sculpted to give a comfortable grip for extended knife use.

TIP: If you want more options for buying a Gyuto knife, check out my top four picks under $100 and $200 (Shun Nakiri included) in this article.

Shun Cutlery Classic Nakiri Knife

The final knife in our recommendation from Shun Cutlery is a traditional Japanese Nakiri. The Nakiri is designed for the effective, precise, and fast processing of vegetables, herbs, and fruit.

The blade design is perfect for push cuts, which minimize the bruising of delicate ingredients. The Nakiri is also helpful for straight up and down fast chopping of vegetables and fruit.

The Shun Cutlery Classic Nakiri (Amazon link) has a 6-inch blade with a square tip, which contributes to the safe use of the knife. The shape of the blade resembles a western cleaver, but the blade is not as thick nor as tall and is not intended for heavy chopping tasks.

The blade steel is Damascus with a VG-Max core and 68 layers of stainless steel as cladding, making the blade razor sharp and stain and corrosion-resistant.

The handle is D-shaped and is made from durable, waterproof, bacteria-resistant pakkawood, which also adds natural beauty to the handle. The D-shape handle is comfortable and suitable for left or right-handed people.

TIP: If you want more options for buying a Nakiri knife, check out my top four picks under $100 and $200 (Shun Nakiri included) in this article.


Shun Cutlery knives are well-known for their quality, both in craftsmanship and in the materials used to manufacture them. The knives have become popular among professional and amateur chefs alike and are considered a top-quality knife brand.

Shun knives may seem a little pricey they are well worth the cost and are among the most affordable Japanese knives.

TIP: Knives can be dangerous if they are stored incorrectly and can sustain damage to the cutting edge, severely damaging the blade. Check out how to store knives properly in the article below:
Storing Knives in a Drawer: 7 Ideas How to Do It Properly