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Masakage Koishi v. Fujiwara Nishiji

Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:40 pm

I'm looking at two different knives to compliment my 240 Kanehiro Wa-Gyoto, One is the Masakage Koishi; Bunka. The other is the Fujiwara Nashiji 195 Gyoto OR it's sister, the Santoku.
I'm not asking about the style of the blades, with me, it's more about the performance of the two models; Koishi v. Nashiji.
I will be using said knife for more refined prep work.
I know you've test driven both models so no need to be diplomatic, I Am A Professional.

Re: Masakage Koishi v. Fujiwara Nishiji

Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:04 pm

As I recall, the Fujiwara is thinner behind the edge (and throughout the blade) making it more ideal, IMHO, for refined work.

The Fujiwara knives are very nice blades.

Re: Masakage Koishi v. Fujiwara Nishiji

Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:45 am

I currently have the Fujiwara Nashiji Santoku and the Yuki and Shimo Bunkas in hand for Quick Look videos. I have also handled the Koishi Bunka. I'll give them a comparison look this evening and let you know what I think. I'm not putting these knives to use, but I have a Yuki Gyuto, so I'm quite familiar with the performance of the Yuki line.

That being said, to me, the Masakage Bunkas scream "refined prep work" with their very pointed, thin tips. You'll need to mind the tip carefully, however - it's really sticking out there like on a Kiritsuke. I'll post later tonight.

Re: Masakage Koishi v. Fujiwara Nishiji

Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:09 pm

Roger that, SteveG.

Re: Masakage Koishi v. Fujiwara Nishiji

Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:33 am

OK, I looked closely at these 3 last night. Keep in mind all of these should be great performers - we're splitting hairs here to some degree.

Using both visual cues and doing the best I could with a digital calipers, the Yuki was thinnest at the edge, followed by the Shimo, then the Fujiwara. They're all thin at the edge, but the Yuki Bunka was one of the thinnest knives at the edge I've ever held in my hands - I haven't seen an Adam Marr knife yet, though :-).

The Yuki and Shimo are thicker at the spine in the back 1/3rd of the blade, but they are thinner at the very tip, due to the Bunka geometry vs. Santoku. The Fujiwara is a taller blade and has some extra length over the Bunkas. My 2 Bunka examples were almost identical in profile/geometry/weight/size, etc. They were 4.2 oz and are lighter than the Fujiwara.

The Fujiwara has a longer blade road and smoother convexing than the Yuki (but it's taller also). It's fit and finish were not quite up so the Masakages IMO - not bad, just not quite the same. My 1st impression OOTB was that I thought it would have been better. The neck/choil area needs some finish sanding to smooth out the edges. The cladding is a true San-Mai and the spine could use some smoothing also IMO. This knife actually shows the clad construction at the spine better than any knife I've seen yet - pretty cool.

All 3 were screaming sharp OOTB.

Honestly between the 3 Masakage Bunkas I'd probably pick the Yuki #1, Shimo #2, Koishi #3, unless the AS steel in the Koishi is a major factor for you. Koishi is a little thicker than the other two Bunkas. Shimo is a fully reactive blade, otherwise I would tie it w/Yuki for #1.

Between the Fujiwara and the Bunkas, the Masakages just feel like light food scalpels, but I would have concerns if your prep/line environment abounds with stainless steel, plates, and other hard objects that you could ding the tip on. The Fujiwara feels like it might be more durable, especially because of the Santoku shape. If you go with the 195 Gyuto, then you also have a tip to worry about, but you get more length.

If you can care for the more delicate nature of the Bunka shape and deal with a little less length, I think the Bunkas would blow your mind as a smaller/delicate prep tool. They're different, more nimble, with a finer tip than the Fujiwara Santoku. The Fujiwara should be a great performer in it's own right, though :-).

Hope this helps - Steve

Re: Masakage Koishi v. Fujiwara Nishiji

Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:28 am

Thanks Steve, really big help, awesome breakdown.
You definitely nudged me towards the bunkas, the only problem then was deciding on which one but after watching the nakiri comparison video between the Yuki and the Koishi it was quite obvious to pick the Yuki. Although the koishi looks cooler and I do prefer the AS for the core, to purchase that would leave me a bit light in my wallet this time around. So I'll have to wait on getting the koishi model for a different blade, maybe the nakiri who knows.
Once again, thank you, a really big help. I am just starting to replace all my knives with the higher end, more handcrafted blades from the blacksmiths that you guys at CKTG showcase.
Looking forward to piecing together a fine knife collection that gets used daily in a fancy, fine dining kitchen.

Re: Masakage Koishi v. Fujiwara Nishiji

Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:36 am

Glad to help. Yes, the higher price of the Koishi line makes it a tougher value proposition, given the performance of the Yuki and Shimo lines. If I didn't think my wife would use it to take off my head, I'm soooo tempted to get a Yuki or Shimo Bunka, probably the Shimo, since I already have a Yuki Gyuto :-). They are just totally bitchin' little blades!

Please create a post here or in the reviews section after you've had a chance to put whatever knife you get through it's paces. Everyone here loves feedback. I, for one, want to know how you like the Bunka if that's what you end up purchasing.

Re: Masakage Koishi v. Fujiwara Nishiji

Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:13 am

FingerCots - I just finished Quick Look videos on these knives if you want to check them out:

Shimo Bunka: http://youtu.be/6YdPIAoy_Lc

Yuki Bunka: http://youtu.be/niQU7qVClkI

Fujiwara Nashiji Santoku: http://youtu.be/2pDZsm4JMCM


Re: Masakage Koishi v. Fujiwara Nishiji

Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:51 pm

Good lookin' out Steve.
Now I know exactly what to expect when the Yuki arrives to the restaurant on Wednesday. That is a busy day for us so that knife will get it's fair share of prep OOTB.
My Chef/Owner goofed on me for not choosing the koishi. "You'd be ballin' with that model."
I replied "That choice would have been a no brainer if I had 'Blitz money'." He'll probably get the koishi, that jackass ;~ >
I showed him the Kanehiro before it arrived and he had to get one.
Seeing how I'm in knife replacement mode, I'm sure a koishi will end up in my holder at some point.
Right now I think my next knife in a couple of weeks will be the Takeda AS Stainless Clad Honesuki OR it's brother the Large Deba.
I've been looking at another 240 gyoto for the sous, for christmas. He doesn't get into knives much, his blades have a hard time penetrating a shallot. The chef and I are always goofing on him for the dullness of those german relics, buuut, if you have a question about wines, he knows his grapes and regions.
Once again, thanks for shooting me the quick looks.


Re: Masakage Koishi v. Fujiwara Nishiji

Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:15 pm

Robert - Sweeettt!! Please report back and tell me how you're using the Bunka and how you like it - I'm still considering whether to keep the Yuki or Shimo :-).
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