What Is A Kiridashi Knife? How Does It Work?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 01/24/21 •  7 min read

The Kiridashi is a traditional Japanese utility blade that is now considered to be an EDC (Every Day Carry) tool. Historically, this knife is carried by craftsmen – particularly those who make bamboo woodworks and crafts. But because it is incredibly sharp and handy, many use it for a variety of things from sharpening pencils, cutting paper, seam reaping, splinter removal, and yes – even as a defensive weapon.

In fact, this is quite similar to the box cutter because the most basic type has a rectangular handle from where the blade protrudes.

But compared to cutter blades which have a stubby and very slightly angled end, the Kiridashi’s blade is shaped like a tall, right triangle with an incredibly pointy tip.

The term Kiridashi actually roughly translates in English to ‘pointed knife’.

But it’s not just the blade which makes this a truly useful tool. Even the handle has great uses.

If you want to know more about this, read on…

History Of The Kiridashi

The direct translation of Kiridashi from Japanese to English is “to carve”.

Originally, this was a blade that was used to carve wood and was originally recognized as a small Katana in Japan.

Traditionally, these tools were carried by Japanese students so they could cut bamboo and paper to complete their art assignments.

The knife was placed in their pencil case and was a very important part of any desk set.

Kiridashi knives were also commonly used to cut strings, sharpen pen quills, and shape brush tips.

Carpenters also used a larger version of this tool in their day-to-day work.

Today, the knife is used in almost the same way it was used long ago, to perform a wide variety of tasks using a single tool.

What Is A Kiridashi?

A Kiridashi is a regular utility knife that measures about 2 inches long, on average.

It is usually forged using high-quality stainless steel so it can be used for a variety of tasks without losing its edge.

The techniques that were used to forge this knife has been passed down from countless generations as the Japanese knife making craft is an integral part of their culture.

So if you get one of these tools from Japan, then you can rest assured that it will be of the highest quality.

Since most of these knives are manually forged instead of hammered, they use pre-bonded steel.

To make these knives, the steel is pressed into Kiridashi knife molds to create a fairly consistent shape, size, and weight.

That being said, some craftsmen have been known to hammer the knives to further shape them.

This will diminish the quality by a little bit, but even professionals have said that the difference is hardly noticeable.

These knives will usually have a sharp point and chisel-edge.

You can use it in the place of scalpel-like knives because it is small, sharp, and precise.

Only one side is beveled, which makes the knife much sharper and thinner, and since you only have to worry about one side, you’ll be doing much less maintenance overall.

The surface of the blade has a slight curve to it, which lessens the friction when slicing, allowing the knife to cut through things much smoother.

It’s a great all-around knife to have, and if you can your hands on one, you’ll find that it’s one of the most useful tools a person can have.

What Can I Use It For?

As mentioned earlier, a Kiridashi is an all-around utility knife, so you can expect to use it for a lot of different things.

It has the strength and durability to perform most cutting tasks and can handle materials such as wood, grass, cords, and zip-ties.

But since it’s a small tool that fits in your pocket, it can also be used for more precise tasks.

This knife is also used a lot for carving wood intricately, chiseling wood, and is also used sometimes for art projects.

And on top of all that, it can also be used to defend yourself since it can be carried with you wherever you go.

The great design of this type of knife will allow you to have a comfortable, yet very controlled grip.

This is one of the best pocket knives a person can have and it’s also one of the most useful, so if ever you find the opportunity to get your hands on a Kiridashi knife, we recommend you take it.

Where Can I Get One?

Just like with most products nowadays, you can easily find a Kiridashi knife on Amazon or other online shops.

You just have to make sure that you are buying from a reliable seller and a trusted brand to ensure that you get a high-quality tool delivered to you.

However, if you don’t want to shop online, a visit to your local knife store might be the way to go.

Just remember that not a lot of knife stores will have Kiridashi knives stocked up.

We recommend that you go for brands that are based in Japan as they tend to make the best Kiridashi blades.

Brands like Itorro and Tomerry have gotten very good reviews from customers who have gotten one of their knives.

Another important thing to remember is that you need to get the right Kiridashi for you.

There are models for right-handed people and left-handed people since the knife has a single-beveled edge.

A good Kiridashi will probably cost a fair amount of money for such a small blade, but it’s worth every penny since you are paying for expert craftsmanship and top-quality materials.

If you don’t want to buy one for yourself, another popular option is to craft one yourself.

This has been a project taken on by a lot of knife enthusiasts, as it can be as fun as it is rewarding.

That being said, to do this you’re going to need the right equipment.

Aside from needing to find the right steel for your knife, you’re going to need to have the tools to grind, cut, harden, sharpen, temper, and hammer the steel if you’re going for that type of finish.

This may not be the way to go for everyone, but if you have the means to do it, then it shouldn’t be too hard.

Another option is to have one custom-made for yourself.

The upside of that is you choose all the features and specifications of your Kiridashi.

And if you find the right bladesmith, you will end up with a very high-quality product that will last you for years on end.

But at the end of the day, the most convenient way is to shop online as there are a lot of trusted Japanese brands that make their blades with expert craftsmanship available online.


If you’ve been looking for a compact utility knife that can handle a whole lot of tasks, is sharpened to a very fine edge, and can be used with a lot of precision, then you might want to get your hands on a Kiridashi.

It comes from a rich tradition of Japanese blades and has been used for centuries by a whole lot of different types of people from students doing art projects, to workers in the field who need to cut and slice their way through a lot of materials.

And luckily, we live in a day and age where it isn’t too hard to get your hands on one.

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.