When it comes to entry-level and low-cost Japanese knives, two series from two brands are great choices: Fujiwara FKM and Tojiro DP.
It’s quite difficult to say which is the better option as the two are quite the same from the steel used to the manner of construction. But both are comparable to Seki-based companies like Shun and Miyabi, except that they’re cheaper.
If you’re not ready to spend that much on one piece, two brands that you should be on the lookout for are Fujiwara and Tojiro, particularly their FKM and DP, respectively…
|Fujiwara FKM||Tojiro DP|
|Place of Origin||Tokyo, Japan||Niigata, Tsubame-Sanjo|
|Steel Used||AUS 8 MV stainless steel||VG 10|
|Blade Profile and Edge||Double-beveled||Double-beveled|
|Bolster||Half bolster||Half bolster|
|Tang||Exposed full tangs||Full tang|
Flat/Straight and Triple-riveted
Flat/Straight and Triple-riveted
Overview Of The Fujiwara FKM
The FKM is Fujiwara’s range of kitchen utility knives.
They are designed to fit well in any kitchen and handle just about any task you throw at them.
All the knives in this series are constructed with AUS-8 steel, Japanese steel that’s very popular for knives, known for its great edge retention.
These blades are all in an affordable range and are fairly easy to use, which is what makes them very popular for people buying their first set of Japanese knives.
The FKM series is equipped with PakkaWood handles, designed to allow a functional grip while also boasting a rustic look.
Overall, this set would be a great first set for a lot of chefs and cooks.
It would even be a great series to shop from for culinary students beginning their journey!
Overview Of The Tojiro DP
Tojiro is a very popular brand of Japanese blades, primarily known for their amazing value for the price.
The DP is one of the more affordable collections from the brand but is still made with very close attention to detail.
The blades are made of VG10 steel, a premium knife steel that has great edge retention.
All the models in this line have Micarta handles, which are durable and have a very sophisticated look to them.
Usually, Tojiro models will be more on the expensive side, which is why they are more recommended for established chefs.
However, the DP collection is known for being more budget-friendly, which is why it’s a great set for beginners as well.
Fujiwara FKM Vs. Tojiro DP – Which Is The Better Option?
Now that you know the basic ins and outs of both collections, it’s time for us to compare the features that they have and see which one suits your preferences.
One great feature from both of the lines is that they are forged.
This means that the blade was forged from a single block of stainless steel.
The block of steel is heated and pounded into shape until it resembles a blade.
Sometimes, this is done by a skilled craftsman, but other times it is done by a machine.
Both brands claim that their knives are made by skilled craftsmen and women, so it can be assumed that their blades are forged by hand.
After being hammered, the steel is then treated, honed, and sharpened to an ideal angle for slicing and cutting.
A forged blade is typically heavier and stronger than stamped ones, which are lighter and less durable.
A common feature of forged blades is a bolster, a wide lip on the handle where it meets the blade.
This makes the knife much more balanced and much easier to work with overall.
So, you can expect comfort and a lot of control from these knives.
After the blades are forged, Tojiro sharpens their DP models to an angle between 9 and 12 degrees on either side.
Fujiwara, on the other hand, sharpens their knives to around a 13 to 15-degree angle.
So, that means that a Tojiro blade will be a bit sharper right out of the box than a Fujiwara, but not by much.
The FKM series utilizes AUS-8 steel, while the DP uses VG-10 steel.
Either of these is a great choice for knives, but they each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
For starters, VG-10 has greater edge retention than AUS-8.
This is because it’s a harder steel, which can make a huge difference considering how fine and sharp the edge on a DP blade is.
However, this means that it will be harder to sharpen than the Fujiwara FKM models since AUS-8 is much easier to sharpen.
So, if you’re getting started with sharpening and only learning the ropes now, it might be easier for you to get an FKM over a DP.
But remember, sharpening with a whetstone requires practice and patience, and if you do it wrong, you might even risk dulling your blade.
While VG-10 steel is harder and has better edge retention, it is also more prone to chipping.
That means you have to take extra care of your blades if you decide to go for the DP.
The harder the steel is, the more brittle, so if you want to reduce the chances of chips and breaking, and FKM might be the better pick.
Fujiwara blades use PakkaWood handles.
This is a combination of real wood and resin, which gives it more water resistance and durability overall.
PakkaWood does all of this while offering a rustic look, which is what makes it popular amongst a lot of chefs.
On the Tojiro DP, you’ll find Micarta handles.
This is also a synthetic material, which offers a very comfortable grip and a more professional look.
Both of the handles will be triple-riveted, which can give more balance while also offering a clean look.
Since both handles from both brands would give you a comfortable and firm grip, the better choice would depend mostly on your personal preferences.
Knives In The Collection
As we mentioned earlier, the FKM collection is meant to be a utilitarian knife set.
So with that, it doesn’t have the widest collection of blades.
What you will find, however, is a set of all-around Japanese kitchen cutlery that would be a great addition to any kitchen.
You’ll find just about every all-around blade you’ll need in the FKM series, from Santoku knives, to Danbiki knives, to Western Deba blades and boning knives!
With the Tojiro DP collection though, you will find a much wider range.
They have the standard all-purpose models, but they also have more task-specific ones such as bread knives, honesuki, and sujihiki blades.
So, if all you’re looking for is an all-purpose kitchen blade, then the FKM series would serve you just fine.
But if you need more variety in your kitchen tools, the Tojiro DP would be a better option.
While both collections were specifically designed to be budget-friendly options, the FKM collection is still the cheaper pick.
Most FKM knives will be available for under $100, with only their Western Deba model selling for more than $100.
With Tojiro, however, even if the DP is their “budget” collection, they are still pretty expensive.
A lot of the DP knives sell for more than $100 because they are made of harder steel and have higher overall quality.
And while there are some models that are available for less than $100, they aren’t the essential kitchen knives that every chef needs.
With that, it’s safe to say that if you’re looking to save money, then the Fukiwara FKM is the right pick for you.
Their knives are durable, have a sharp edge, and are made with close attention to detail.
On top of that, they are also the more affordable choice between the two.
But if what you need in your kitchen is a sharper edge, higher overall quality, and more brand recognition, then we recommend investing in a Tojiro set.
Either way, as long as the brand you chose can serve all your kitchen needs and fits your preferences, then you’ve chosen the right pick for you!
Last Updated on September 2, 2021