Shigefusa Kitaeji Miroshi Deba 255mm(10")
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

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Shigefusa Kitaeji Miroshi 255mm(10")

Usage - Filleting

- By definition, Miroshi debas are filleting knives. The word Miroshi in Japanese means filleting. Can't claim I was any good at that in the beginning, and even now, after all my practicing for last few years, a serous sushi chef would probably get very frustrated looking at me filleting a fish, but still, I can do it, reasonably well, in my opinion :) Besides, learning is always a positive experience and a worthy cause. Anyhow, I've mangled and maimed quite a bit of the fish while learning acceptable filleting skills, and Nozaki's book Japanese Kitchen Knives did help a lot. Ok, back to the knife.

Given Miroshi Deba's size, it's obvious, small fish is not what it was designed for. Mainly I've practiced on Sea bass, few other fish, can't remember their names, all 7-12" long, and a couple times with sturgeon, which was a real test for the knife any my humble skills, because the sturgeon was somewhere between 3-4 feet long and filleting that monster was quite a challenge. Somehow I still managed :) Although I did put series of microchips along the last 2 inches of the edge, at the heel, while I was wrestling with the head and the spine. All in all, Miroshi was sufficient even for that big fish, the part I still don't understand how did I manage to put those small fractures on the edge, because the sturgeon has very few real bones, mostly cartilage. I must've hit something wrong somewhere, without realizing it. However, on the positive side, restoring the edge was very easy.

I've started with 10000 grit Naniwa Chosera Super Finishing synthetic whetstone. About 5 minutes on the edge, and it was back to normal. Then I followed with 0.50µm and 0.25µm diamond loaded leather strops, and finished on a plain leather strop. After that occasion I was more careful around the bones on the fish and all subsequent filleting sessions, including another large sturgeon went successfully, in that there was no damage to the edge. Can't say the same about the fish though.

As far as the knife performance is concerned, I'd rate it very high. Once I got the hang of it, filleting went a lot easier, although that's be true with any knife, however having high performance knives makes things that much better. Needless to say, razor sharp edge makes cutting very easy. One other job this types of knives excel is skinning the fish fillets. Because of the chisel grind edge, and the concave back side(urasuki), it is very easy to slide the knife under the skin and then just push forward, skin is removed very cleanly, very little loss(if any) of the meat. Concave surface prevents sticking to the skin and reduces drag. This operation does require a little more space on the board compared to flexible western fillet knives like the Phil Wilson Punta Chivato, because the blade won't bend when skinning the fish, but the difference isn't that great, may be in a very cramped kitchen it'd make a difference.

Edge holding is of course very high, high carbon steel, very high hardness, and designated use on fish and proteins is not very taxing, at least the medium is nor very abrasive. That's not to say it's all very knife friendly, fish have scales, you have to cut gills, skin etc, relatively tough stuff, and then when filleting there's bone contact, which is pretty much inevitable. Yes, you do try to go along the bones, not through them, but things happen, and you have to remove the head to say the least. As in other filleting knives reviews, I won't try to explain/detail how to fillet a fish aspect, because I am not an expert, or let's say I do not feel I am qualified for that. There are much better guides for that and my goal isn't providing lessons on filleting, not yet at least. Once I discover something worthy in regards of filleting techniques, I'll definitely share ;) Other than that, filleting with Japanese knives is more technique intense and demanding, however the benefits are also obvious, staring from higher performance knives and including very specialized and thus efficient knives for many types of fish.

Usage - Heavy Gyuto

- One other, and very popular role for miroshi debas is that of a heavy gyuto. Probably because it looks like one. Pro users and novices come out with the same idea, which I find interesting. Somehow, it wasn't very appealing to me, and frankly, using miroshi deba as a gyuto didn't occur to me at first, but I read about it, few people I know, asked advice and help buy miroshi debas which they intended to use in the gyuto role, absolutely not related to fish. Can't say the idea is very appealing to me, because swinging 348.00g(11.77oz) Miroshi Deba instead of the 210.00g(7.1oz) Aritsugu A-Type gyuto or 264.00g(8.93oz) Watanabe Honyaki Gyuto for 2-3 hours straight in my case, and for 8-12 hours for pro chefs is hardly a good idea, 50% or more difference in weight does add up, and fatigue builds up faster.

Although, most of the time the use of miroshis in heavy gyuto role is limited to short term use, for specific things. E.g. chopping chiffonade with Miroshi is inefficient and overkill. On the other hand, harder stuff like mincing walnuts, Brussels sprouts and such cab be easier with heavier knife, although I am not entirely convinced in that either. I've experimented quite a bit with various ingredients using Miroshi deba side by side with some of my favorite gyutos and so far, I can't name gyuto specific work where Miroshi performed better. In my opinion, as long as the gyuto is sharp enough, for veggies and light/moderate cutting gyuto still works a lot better, and believe me, I am not discovering anything new here, just I was curious enough to test the same stuff with a few knives.

On the other hand, knife use is very personal experience and I can definitely understand why or if someone prefers using heavy gyutos or miroshis vs. light ones. Especially the non knife folks, who feel that heavy knives are better, and do cutting for you. Always reminds me Boris 'The blade' from the movie Snatch - Heavy is good, heavy is reliable. If it doesn't work you can always hit them with it. Ok, jokes aside, knife weight is far less important when it comes to cutting performance compared to the edge sharpness. I can sharpen the knife to the level when it cuts tomato using just its weight, but the dull knife will require a kilogram or more of force to do the same, sort of, in that it will squash the tomato, not cut. And guess where those extra kilograms of force are coming from. Yeah, that's right, from the user. In short, save yourself a fatigue and frustration, use sharp knives and you'll see, the extra 200g weight won't matter at all on your knives. I am not saying there is no place for miroshis, they were designed with specific use in mind and excel at those tasks just fine. There are cases when heavy gyutos could do cutting better, but again, very limited use and picking a heavy knife as primary gyuto is not justified.


- Shigefusa knives don't really need my commendations, they are highly collectable, very popular and all that is very well deserved too. So, in that regard, you have nothing to worry about craftsmanship, fit, finish and overall quality, it'll be perfect. As for me, the knife works very well and maintaining razor sharp edge is very easy. So, if you are contemplating purchasing Shigefusa Kitaeji Miroshi deba, then main aspect you have to focus on is whether or not you actually need/want Miroshi and if it is worth forking out 450$ or more for it. If the answer to both questions is yes, then good luck finding one ;)


  • Blade - 255.00mm(10")
  • Thickness - 6.00mm
  • Width - 53.00mm
  • OAL - 415.00mm(16.34")
  • Steel - Iizuka proprietary Swedish(Spicy) steel 63-64HRC
  • Handle - Ebony With Damascus Steel(Originally Magnolia Wood)
  • Weight - 348.00g(11.77oz)
  • Acquired - 05/2009 Price - 430.00$

Related reading:

Prev. - General, Blade and Handle

Last updated - 05/19/19