As a professional chef or a home cook, you want to know you can cut, chop, slice, and dice with confidence, not worrying about pushing too hard and cutting off part of your finger. (Sure we’ve all been there, right?)
Now, you don’t need to worry anymore. Western-style double-bevel knives like chef’s knives (also called Gyuto and Nakiri) or Santoku multi-purpose knives are ambidextrous. This means both right-handed and left-handed people can comfortably use these double-edged knives.
If you want a single-bevel or serrated knife and are left-handed, you most likely won’t be able to use it. Why? Because they are made for righties who make up the majority of the world’s population. Even regular potato peelers with a single blade are not designed for lefties.
Traditional Japanese knives, which are single-beveled and called Deba or Yanagiba, have a sharp angle on the right side of the blade while the left side is flat. Some Shun-branded knives even have handles that are designed for right-handed people.
Using such a knife in your left hand means you need to use too much force to slice through any ingredient and this is quite dangerous, or you’ll find it difficult to cut straight down.
These days, you can buy single-edged and serrated bread knives that are made especially for left-handed chefs, leftie cooking apprentices, and left-handed people who cook for themselves and their families. Yes, you can certainly use a double-bevel knife that’s just as good for left-handers, but a left-handed single-bevel knife helps you cut thin slices. Such a knife is ideal for slicing sashimi, filleting a fish or meat, and for slicing vegetables.
We’ve got the best left handed Japanese knives for chefs right here so you don’t need to shop around and wonder which one is right for you. We divide them between the long and thin Yanagiba blades and wide and shorter Deba blades.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks for Left Handed Japanese Knives…
- 2 Difference Between Deba and Yanagiba Japanese Knives
- 3 Left Handed Sashimi Knife
- 4 Left Handed Deba Knife
- 5 FAQs
- 6 Conclusion
In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks for Left Handed Japanese Knives…
TOP PICK YANAGI SASHIMI KNIFE
Global G-11L – 10 inch Left-Handed Yanagi Sashimi Knife
- Convex edge ground straight to a point
- Entire knife in CROMOVA 18 stainless steel
- HRC – 56 to 58
- Sand filled hollow handle
VALUE PICK YANAGI SASHIMI KNIFE
Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Left Handed Yanagi Sashimi Knife
- 10″ taper ground blade in high-carbon German steel
- HRC – 58
- Santoprene plastic D-shaped handle
TOP PICK DEBA FILLET KNIFE
Yoshihiro Left Handed Kasumi White Steel Deba Fish Fillet Knife
- 6.5″ blade in White Steel 2
- HRC – 62 to 63
- Symmetrical round Shitan wood handle
Difference Between Deba and Yanagiba Japanese Knives
Due to its extremely broad blade, the Deba resembles a chef’s knife with its curved edge. However, it works a bit more like a cleaver. Chefs use Deba knives for everything from cutting meat to filleting fish. Because the blade is extremely thick, it’s great for cutting meat with small bones or whole chickens.
The blades on Deba knives are commonly single-bevelled, which means that only one side of the blade is sharpened. It makes it easier to consistently sharpen them with a whetstone and get the same sharp edge every time.
The Yanagi knife is made specifically for slicing sashimi and sushi rolls. Fish such as salmon, red snapper, and tuna are cut using this knife. These slicers were specifically designed to meet the requirements of sushi chefs, who need precision for cutting sushi.
In order to achieve consistent thickness and texture between slices, Yanagiba knives are designed to be pulled, not pushed. For consistent and easy slicing, the blade has a thin, sharp edge with a single bevel. Additionally, when cutting fish, the back of the blade is usually slightly concave instead of straight, so cut fish pieces fall off easily.
Left Handed Sashimi Knife
Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Left Handed Yanagi Sashimi Knife with NSF Handle
The Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Left Handed Yanagi Sashimi Knife is one of the best left handed Japanese kitchen knives for amateur chefs. It is a single-bevel knife intended for everyday left-handed home cooks. The blade is razor-sharp, so you can easily and with precision cut various ingredients. Use this Yanagi knife to prepare sashimi and sushi rolls, filet chicken breast, and slice tomato and other thin fruit and veg slices.
Made from high-carbon stain-resistant German steel, the blade is high-quality and durable. Moreover, you don’t need to worry about rust, discoloration, or corrosion as the blade is resistant to these.
The 10” single-edged blade is taper ground and has a fine stone finish with a 6° blade bevel on one side and 15° on the other. On the Rockwell Hardness Scale (HRC), this blade is 58, which means that while it’s not as hard as some other blades, it is ideal for kitchen use and the blade is relatively easy to sharpen (in terms of the steel, not the bevel).
The D-shaped handle is made from Santoprene plastic and is bacteria-resistant and slip-resistant. It is National Sanitation Foundation certified too, so it’s easy to keep sanitary even when regularly cutting meat or fish.
Be careful when cutting with this knife the first few times until you learn how to use it because you can easily cut yourself with the sharp blade.
Ideal for sushi preparation and vegetable slicing.
Easy to sharpen with a whetstone.
Feels light and well balanced in your hand.
Handle is resistant to bacteria and warping.
Good value and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Plastic handle makes it feel a bit downscale.
Not the best for deflecting food away from the blade as the back of the blade is flat instead of slightly concave.
No blade guard to protect the blade when storing it in a knife block or utensil drawer.
Global G-11L – 10 inch Left-Handed Yanagi Sashimi Knife
If you’re looking for the best left handed sushi knife, the Global G-11L 10 inch Left-Handed Yanagi Sashimi Knife is a perfectly balanced single-bevel knife for lefties. The great balance is thanks to the sand-filled hollow handle. The entire knife is made of high-quality CROMOVA 18 stainless steel from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle.
The blade is razor-sharp and ice-hardened to between C56 and C58, which ensures the blade stays sharper for longer, so you don’t need to sharpen it as often as some other blades. While most single-edged knives are beveled, this one is ground straight to a point, which means it’s a dramatically sharper knife. The convex edge helps slices fall off easily. Plus, the blade is “soft” enough that you can sharpen it easily.
The sure-grip handle is ergonomic with a dimple pattern. So you can slice and dice with confidence, knowing the knife is slip-resistant. The comfortable handle also reduces hand and wrist fatigue, especially with repetitive cutting.
Perfect for cutting thin slices of sushi or sashimi.
Professional chefs will love it for its optimal control.
High-quality, durable, and razor-sharp blade.
Easy to maintain the edge.
Well-balanced ergonomic handle.
A bit pricey compared to other left-handed Yanagi knives.
Doesn’t come with a sheath.
KS&E Hasegawa 10 Inch Left Handed Yanagi Sashimi Knife
Made in Japan, the KS&E Hasegawa 10 Inch Left Handed Yanagi Knife is a high-quality long, narrow, 420J2 stainless steel blade that is made specifically for filleting fish, poultry, and delicate red meat cuts. As such, you can comfortably and easily use the single-beveled blade to prepare sushi and sashimi, as well as other seafood dishes.
The 10.6″ blade is 3 mm thick, won’t discolor, and is corrosion-resistant. It is perfect for the beginner chef who has decent knife skills, whether they work in a commercial kitchen or home setting. Since the blade is angled on the left, it is ideal for left-handed users.
The handle is made of wedge wood and is octagonal and symmetrical. Buyers say it isn’t particularly ergonomic, but it fits well in their left hand. The black collar that separates the pale handle from the slate grey blade gives it an unmistakable Japanese look.
The knife comes in a fancy box with a blade sheath to protect the blade when you aren’t using it. Storing the left-handed filet knife in the box it arrives ensures other utensils don’t scratch the blade and that the blade stays sharper for longer.
Ideal for beginners with decent knife work skills.
Corrosion-resistant, high-quality blade.
Sharp blade that won’t compromise the quality of the meat.
Stylish design with Japanese characters on the blade.
Learning curve to sharpen the blade.
Handle isn’t very ergonomic.
Left Handed Deba Knife
Yoshihiro Left Handed Kasumi White Steel Deba Fish Fillet Knife 6.5″
The 6.5″ Yoshihiro Left Handed Kasumi Deba Fish Fillet Knife is made from white steel 2 (Shiroko high-carbon steel). The blade is beveled on the left so it is ideal for left-handed chefs, apprentices, and cooks in both professional and home kitchens.
The blade is forged with iron to create Kasumi, which are mist patterns. This makes the knife look extra special. On the HRC, the knife measures 62 to 63. This means the blade will stay sharp for quite some time, but over time, it can become brittle and challenging to sharpen. However, you won’t be disappointed with the way it performs consistently in the kitchen.
Unfortunately, these blades also have a high likelihood of corroding so they need to be taken care of. The blade should be washed, thoroughly dried, and then oiled with the included Tsubaki Oil before storage. Buyers also get a blade sheath (called a Saya) when they buy the Yoshihiro Kasumi Deba Fish Fillet Knife. Use the sheath when the knife isn’t being used to protect the blade. The sheath also makes the knife look like a professional knife in your kitchen.
When it eventually is time to sharpen it, a good quality water stone is preferred or you should get it professionally done.
The symmetrical handle is round-shaped and made from natural shitan wood. The bolster, which is the area between the blade and the handle, is made from water buffalo horn.
This Deba knife was made to butcher and filet whole fish. Use the heft to cut through the bones and head of a fish, while you use the smaller pointed tip to filet or separate the fish flesh from its bones. You can use the knife to cut through poultry and meat too; however, it isn’t intended to cut through large bones.
Ideal to filet a whole fish and even cut through meat and poultry, as well as fruit and veggies.
Good heft and ability to perform extremely well.
A knife sheath is included.
Beautiful mist patterns on the blade.
Comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Needs to be sharpened using Japanese water stone.
Need to maintain the blade properly to prevent corrosion.
Can’t cut through large bones.
FUJI CUTLERY Narihira #9000 Deba Knife “Left-handed” 150mm (FC-83)
The Fuji Cutlery Narihira #9000 Deba Knife Left-handed (FC-83) is also made in Japan. The 5.9” single-beveled blade is ideal for beginner left-handed chefs and cooks who want to cut razor thin slices of fish, poultry, meat, veggies, and fruit without spending a whole lot. You can also cut through bone if you need to debone a chicken or fish.
The blade is made from stainless steel and is sharp, durable, and rust-resistant. You won’t need to sharpen it too often either. There are Japanese characters denoting the name of the knife painted on the blade; with a lot of use, these characters can fade.
The symmetrical handle of this left handed fish fillet knife is made from natural wood, while the collar of the knife (the part between the handle and the blade) is made from polypropylene resin. It is a simple knife but not expensive, so you’ll be getting your money’s worth even if it’s not among the top class Deba knives.
Can cut through bones as well as meat, fish, poultry, and more delicate ingredients.
Handle is made from wood.
The edges on the spine of the blade are square and can hurt your hand if you press on this while cutting through bone.
Some users complained the knife feels a bit off-balance and that there isn’t enough weight in the handle.
Need to hand wash the knife.
Satake Left Hand Wabocho Chef’s Knife (804-226 Deba Blade 135mm)
The Satake Left Hand Wabocho Chef’s Knife is made in Japan from 420J2 stainless steel, so it has a medium quantity carbon content and is highly corrosion-resistant. On the HRC, the blade is a 56, so it’s as hard as German steel blades and the blade stays sharp enough for most kitchen use.
The single-edged, thick, tapered blade is beveled on the left side, meaning it is ideal for left-handed chefs and home cooks.
The ergonomic, symmetrical handle is made from Magnolia and has great balance. It looks like the handles of classic Japanese knives.
Hand wash the knife to protect the blade’s sharpness and glossiness. Also, immediately dry the knife after washing so no watermarks can form on the blade.
Ideal for cutting meat, poultry, and fish.
Lightweight knife and ergonomic handle to reduce wrist and hand fatigue.
Blade is razor-sharp.
Can’t be placed in the dishwasher.
Doesn’t come with a blade sheath to protect the blade when not in use.
Why are some knives right-handed?
Most Western knives or double-beveled ones like Santoku or Gyuto are ground symmetrically, with the edge completely centred on the blade, making them suitable for both right and left hand users. Some Japanese knives feature a chisel or one-sided grind.
A right-hand grind has a bevel on the right side of the blade and a flat left side. The blade tends to draw into the vegetable, fish or meat you’re holding with the left hand while cutting with the right. It aids in the cutting of exceedingly thin slices by not attempting to slip away into the small portion being cut.
With a few exceptions, most Japanese knife manufacturers don’t make left-handed versions because most children are taught from an early age to only use their right hands for most tasks.
Can a lefty use a right-handed knife?
A left-hander can use a right-handed single-bevel knife but not very well without a lot of practice to compensate for the wrong edged blade.
Since a blade that’s edged on the right side tends to draw the cut towards the food you’re holding with your left hand, if the knife is held in the left hand, the bottom part of a thin slice of food will be almost non-existant.
In the case of serrated bread knives, lefties will get an overhang of the loaf of bread, as the serrations are angled on the left side of the blade.
What makes a left-handed knife?
A left-handed single-beveled knife has the blade edge angled on the left, while the right side of the blade is flat. Here is a detailed explanation on left and right-handed knife differences.
Can left-handed people use single bevel knives?
Left-handed people can use single bevel knives that have the edge angled on the left side of the blade. If they use a normal right-handed one, it could be dangerous or at the very least, it would not cut straight down for even slices.
Just like left-handed vs right-handed scissors, single-bevel Japanese knives are also handed. Therefore left-handed chefs should try to procure the best Japanese knife for left handed people if they’re looking for single-bevelled ones to slice sushi, sashimi, meats and veggies in thin slices.