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The Yanagi knife is a single bevel slicing knife with a long, narrow blade that smoothly slices through raw fish and preserves the integrity of each ingredient's freshness.
The construction of the yanagiba is designed for cutting surfaces that are smooth, shiny and even, in order to maximize the taste.
As it is used only for fish, it is no relevant with any European type knife.
It belongs to the "sashimi bocho" knife type, together with takohiki.
The blade is very thin behind the edge which allows the cut to be made using primarily the weight of the knife. Greater force or thickness would result in tearing or bruising of the flesh.
The back face of the blade (urasuki) is concave to easily detach the blade from the substance being cut, and the front bevel (shinogi) allows sliced piece to be easily removed from the blade after cutting.
General size is 270 mm to 330 mm, though the 240 mm is becomming more and more common.