Ko-Bunka Vs Petty: Which Should Be Your Go-To Knife

Ko-Bunka Vs Petty: Which Should Be Your Go-To Knife?

Japan is probably the richest place on earth to see knife variations. Ko-Bunka and Petty are two popular knives in Japanese culture. The first one is the smaller version of the Bunka Bocho, which means cultural knife.

This emphasizes how close the knife is to the Japanese traditions. The Petty knife is also very popular among home cooks and professional chefs for its versatility.

We will go over the characteristics and usage of these two knives to find out the right one for you. Let’s explore the exotic world of knives.

What Is Ko-Bunka Knife?

What Is Ko-Bunka Knife?

To understand what a Ko-Bunka knife is, you first need to know about a Bunka Knife. This is a general-purpose knife that can replace western chef knives. Though Santoku and Gyuto are very popular as Japanese chef knives, Bunka has a special place in Japanese culinary tradition.

The cutting edge of a Bunka knife is almost straight as Santoku knives. Ko-Bunka knives share the same characteristics, but the blade size is much smaller. A standard Ko-Bunka will be about 130mm long.

Another notable characteristic of Bunka knives is their reverse-tanto tip or k-tip. Ko-Bunka knives have the same tip, making Bunka or Ko-Bunka different from Santoku knives.

What Is Kitchen Ko-Bunka Used For?

What Is Kitchen Ko-Bunka Used For

Ko-Bunka is a versatile knife that can be used for many purposes. If you look at the cutting blade profile, it is straight and long to help you cut a variety of vegetables and meat in the kitchen.

Just as a Santoku, a Ko-Bunka knife can be used for chopping, dicing, mincing, etc. Though the length of the blade is smaller than Bunka knives, you can easily handle light butchery, such as dressing and cutting meat, with Ko Bunka knives.

  • Ko-Bunka knives will be better for tap chopping as the cutting edge is straight.
  • You can also use push-cutting techniques with this knife.
  • And due to the smaller blade, you can also use it for in-hand operations like peeling fruit, scoring veggies, or other precision work.
  • The k-tip of the Ko-Bunka knife helps you scoop fruits or veggies on its wide blade.
  • It has a double-bevel cutting edge that precisely cuts through plenty of items.

What Is Petty Knife?

What Is Petty Knife?

The word Petty comes from the French word Petite, which means small or little. As the name suggests, the Japanese petty knife is a smaller version of western utility or chef knives. But it is a bit larger than paring knives.

This knife is very compact and lightweight, usually about 80-150mm long. Many professional chefs like to use this knife for multiple tasks such as peeling, dicing, slicing, trimming, etc.

This all-purpose knife is very handy for prepping fruits and vegetables as well as butchering poultry or handling small fish.

What Is Kitchen Petty Knife Used For?

What Is Kitchen Petty Knife Used For?

Petty knives have a long and slightly curved blade to be used for many different purposes. The narrow, pointed tip is highly useful in scoring or trimming items. And you can also use the knife in long strokes to cut small fish, poultry, fruits, and vegetables.

  • If you are searching for a knife for in-hand work, a smaller handmade petty knife might be perfect for you.
  • These are about 80mm long and will give you an edge while paring fruits and veggies.
  • You can also use the same knife for chopping herbs on the cutting board.
  • Petty knives take much smaller space than Gyuto or Santoku.
  • So, these are commonly used by experienced chefs to handle a multitude of cutting and peeling in professional kitchens.
  • This way, they need to switch a lot less between knives.

Ko-Bunka Vs. Petty: What Are The Differences?

Ko-Bunka Vs. Petty: What Are The Differences

To determine the differences between a Petty and a Ko-Bunka, we need to judge them based on the same criteria. Let’s find out how far or close these knives are apart.


As we have already mentioned, Ko-Bunka knives are about 130mm long. Due to this size, these knives are a lot more comfortable and manageable than larger Santoku or Gyuto, or western chef knives.

Petty knife size, on the other hand, is about 80-90mm if you look for the smaller version. The standard version will be about 120mm long. Smaller petty knives are more suitable for off-board work, such as peeling or paring.

Overall, petty knives are usually smaller than Ko-Bunka knives. Due to their compact size, they are mostly used for light and precision work.


The shapes of these two knives are completely different. A Ko-Bunka has its signature k-tip that points backward. The cutting blade of this knife is comparatively flat, almost identical to Santoku knives. This is why Ko-Bunka knives are great for tap chopping.

But petty knives are similar to Gyuto knives with their thicker heel and long blade with a pointed tip. The cutting edge is a bit curved, so petty knives are great for rock chopping.

A Ko-Bunka knife doesn’t have a thicker heel as the petty knife has. So, a petty knife will be more suitable for push-cutting.

Blade Characteristics

Both knives have double-bevel blades for effortless and precision cutting. A double-bevel means grinding the cutting edge at an angle so that it penetrates the target much faster and with more accuracy.

The blades of Ko-Bunka knives are beveled on both sides at an angle of 10-15 degrees. Petty knife blades also have the same characteristic. So, both knives will be useful in precision cutting. And due to this double-bevel, both knife blades are extremely sharp to cut through almost any soft items you throw at them.


Two materials are most commonly used in making almost all Japanese knives. These are carbon steel and stainless steel. Carbon steel has a higher carbon-to-iron ratio to give its extreme sharpness and strength. These knives are easy to sharpen and have better edge retention. But carbon steel can rust or erode quickly.

Stainless steel is the less expensive option with high resistance to rust and corrosion. But it is difficult to sharpen. Both knives use these two materials and it goes down to one’s choice.


You can choose the handle according to your comfort. Both Japanese style and western style handles are available for Ko-Bunka and petty knives. D-shaped handles are very common for their ergonomic grip.


Due to the difference in mostly size and shape, petty knives are used for lighter tasks such as peeling, slicing, chopping, etc. Ko-Bunka knives can handle a bit heavier tasks like dicing, mincing, butchering, etc.

Those who have an arsenal of knives might include a petty knife in their set. But anyone looking for a one-stop knife will definitely choose the Ko-Bunka for its versatility.


So, which one do you choose, Petty or Ko-Bunka? Both knives are useful in different culinary operations such as cutting, peeling, chopping, and many more. As these knives’ blade sizes and shapes are different, their cutting motion might vary a bit.

Still, both knives are highly useful in kitchens to handle a variety of items with ease. These compact knives will be easier to maneuver than their larger siblings. Having any of these knives can be a blessing, depending on how smoothly you can use them.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.