Customers often bring their knives and ask me "Is this knife fake?" They worry if they are real or fake Japanese knives.
At first, there is no definitions of Japanese knife. It's not like the whiskey industry. There are clear requirement of scotch whiskey, bourbon and Japanese whiskey. Requirements include specify materials, ways of making, aging periods and locations.
Japanese knife don't have such requirement. So from legal point of view, there is NO criteria of Japanese knife.
We need to have own criteria. Below is my criteria.
I use these 4 angles to determine the fakes. 1. Copy 2. Lie 3. Illusions 4. Perceptions. It's subjective. The conclusions will be difference even using my ways. I use this logic to explain my thought for answering my customers question.
It's simply bad. I saw many counterfeit products. It looks same as famous knife brand like Global and Shun. I cannot distinguish it by visual. I know it when I sharpen the knives. The counterfeit products cannot be made sharp edges. I thought it's a quality problem of brand. I asked owners of these knives where they bought it. Owners said it's not official shop. They known the possibility of the fake.
They say this knife is handmade in Japan. 90% processes are done by machine, 10% by manual work. Every knife cannot made by machine 100%. Every knife have manual work process. There is no definition of handmade. So it's not a lie, but in my opinion, it's a lie. This is common sense of majority of consumers. Some brand use the word "Crafts" for 90:10 products. It's milder expression than handmade. It's not a lie, but I feel it's an industrial product.
This Damascus knife is designed by Michelin chef. It cuts tomato smoothly. All of these information are fact. It never lie.
It looks proof of high-grade knife. But there are totally no relation with quality of the knife. These are emotional effects. That's a part of marketing tactics. I feel it an illusion. The illusions make demands and price higher.
I agree to make emotional effect. Sometimes I feel it's fake when it's too much.
I met one Vietnamese chef. He said my knives are fake Japanese knife. He said my knives looks very cheap, it's a fake. I was shocked.
I asked the reason and his background. He is working at Sushi restaurant in Germany. His Japanese seniors taught him Japanese knives not only cooking. Japanese knives must be single bevel, backside edge should be super flat. Real Japanese knife has noble aura.
He is right.
Price of his knives have one digit too many. My products range is $100-300. His knives are $1,000. This is their standard. Some Japanese chefs is in this segment. They have own standard. My knives are out of their standard.
I learned from him that everyone has own views. The views are made by experiences.