In a show, the character uses the following kitchen knife. I've never seen anything like it before; what is it?

One Piece Knife

Here it is in action: In Action

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    It looks like a variation of a one-handled mezzaluna ... but I want to say that I've seen something similar to it being used for asian cut noodles. (I just can't recall if it was Japanese, Chinese, Korean or something else) – Joe Jan 11 '19 at 0:39
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    I'm not convinced that knife is a traditional knife of any kind. I suspect that the artist made it up to look wierd & cool. – FuzzyChef Jan 11 '19 at 0:43
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    Joe: it looks kind of like someone combined a Thai cleaver with a Korean noodle cutter. But, like I said, I've never seen such a knife (and I've been in cookware stores in several Asian countries) and I can't find images of any matching knife on the internet. Given that it's animation, the most likely conclusion is that the artist made up the knife to look exotic and/or old-fashioned. – FuzzyChef Jan 11 '19 at 6:30
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    Are you sure it is a knife? Could it be a dough scraper instead? This shape is not very functional for cutting. Because of the super straight edge for most of the length, it is unsuited for the rocking style of cutting, which is usually the reason for placing the handle there. The slicing style should work, but after mimicking the motion with a piece of cardboard I cut out, I can say it is awkward, and seems that even after getting accustomed, it will still be less precise than a standard chef knife. – rumtscho Jan 11 '19 at 8:13
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    Somewhat related: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/73443/… – UnhandledExcepSean Jan 11 '19 at 19:15

An ulu knife

That looks like a variant on an ulu knife, a knife whose blade is below the handle. enter image description here

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    I've always seen ulu with a curved blade. (much like a mezzaluna) Even the asymetrical ones that I managed to find tended to be more rounded than the "kitchen axe" type blade in the image – Joe Jan 11 '19 at 1:53
  • This seems to be used very similar to the animation in the question: youtu.be/8dF5pz43dGE?t=34 (34 seconds into the video) – LanguagesNamedAfterCofee Jan 13 '19 at 1:14

After seeing that GIF, I am 99% sure the animator thought up the design by themselves, probably to add some element of interest to the show, but without thinking about the practical side at all.

The animation shows the knife being used in a chopping motion, like a cleaver. But here is what a cleaver looks like

enter image description here

And this video can be used as a reference for proper use of a cleaver. We see slicing, chopping and rocking motions:


The knife in the anime is inferior to the cleaver shown above.

  1. It is more difficult to produce. Instead of producing a single continuous piece of steel, you have to punch a hole in it, without cutting through the side.
  2. A cleaver needs some weight. And much of its weight comes not from the thin blade, but from the back, which is thicker than on a Western knife. Making a cutout in that place is counterproductive.
  3. A cleaver profits from the lever effect. This is especially noticeable in other tools which are used with the same motion, such as axes. But it plays some role in knife cleavers, too. This effect is completely lost in the design shown here.
  4. A cleaver is held with the ulna and radius at relatively small angle to the handle, upper arm hanging in its natural position, the lower arm almost parallel to the table. This allows for smooth, precise movement. The design of this knife means that the upper arm is held parallel to the table, and the lower arm goes orthogonal to the table's plane, creating a very awkward position, which is probably also very tiring if you do lots of cutting. You can even see this terrible position in the GIF. This doesn't matter much in mezzalunas and other similar tools which are used with a rocking motion from the wrist, but this kind of chopping looks like a repetetive strain injury waiting to happen.

Considering these design problems, I hope nobody has had the idea of actually produce such a knife and use it in a real kitchen.

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    Also, what the heck is the point on the knife supposed to be for? Try to imagine any motion you could conceivably make that would bring that point to bear. You can't do it, not with a human arm. – FuzzyChef Jan 12 '19 at 22:29
  • Great explanation! The motion did seem awkward to me, but I didn't realize just how impractical such a knife would be. However, the Ulu knife that @greenstone-walker mentioned seems to be used very similar to the animation: youtu.be/8dF5pz43dGE?t=34 (see 34 seconds into the video). – LanguagesNamedAfterCofee Jan 13 '19 at 1:10
  • @fuzzychef I guess I didn't think of that because I don't use the point of a chef's knife either, but you are right that if somebody wants to use it - and apparently it is used in a cleaver - it is difficult to impossible. – rumtscho Jan 13 '19 at 3:01
  • @languagesnamedaftercoffee interesting, I had never seen an ulu knife before. I imagined it to be intended for rocking due to the shape. But it is smaller than I thought, and your video shows clearly that it can be gripped conveniently. – rumtscho Jan 13 '19 at 3:05
  • I agree, this knife in it's present shape looks like a cross between a ulu and cleaver. The only way to use this particular knife would be as an ulu, which is meant to have the object being cut much lower than you. In most cases it would be meat, and it would be on the ground and the user would be kneeling over the meat. This would give the user the proper mechanical advantage and maximize hand positioning on the knife. – JG sd Jan 14 '19 at 7:07

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