Tanaka R2 Santoku 165mm Walnut Handle


Although the material and construction of the R2 series blades are the same as the top tier Ironwood series, the 3D shimmer of the black Damascus cladding really sets this Tanaka R2 Santoku apart from its Ironwood series counterpart. The rustic looking Japanese style, octagonal, Wa handle suits the R2 core blade well and the overall feel of the blade is light weight, comfortable and nimble.

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Product Description

Broad like a French chef knife or a Japanese Gyuto, but with a short, snub nosed blade. The Santoku is a highly versatile utility knife that many chefs around the world are choosing over the tradition chef knife or Gyuto. The Tanaka R2 Santoku emphasises the nimble, light weight versatility that is characteristic of this classic Japanese all-purpose blade.

The packaging is hardly of interest. However, when you receive your R2 series or Ironwood series knife it comes in a wooden gift box, which is lined with red fabric and secured with a cardboard sheath and bubble wrap. Upon opening the box, you quickly forget the packaging as the beautiful 3D shimmer of the black Damascus cladding catches your eye and you realize just how satisfyingly well made these knives really are.

The fit and finish is hard to fault and running your hands over the spine and heal of the blade you will be hard pressed to find any rough edges or imperfections.Tanka has really perfected his artform and his work speak for itself.

The smooth ergonomic shape of the rustic Japanese style, octagonal Wa handle lends itself well to most hand shapes and sizes and works well in a pinch grip.

Constructed in much the same way as the top tier Ironwood series blades, the Tanaka R2 series has a core R2 steel (Rockwell 62-63), which is clad in a 32-layer acid-etched suminagashi, Damascus cladding. The profile exhibited on the edge of this Tanaka R2 Santoku starts out at the choil or heel with a slight flat section, but then it tapers gradually towards the snub-nosed tip. It’s a pretty traditional Santoku shape and lends itself well to almost every cutting style.

The spine has a slight distal taper, at the bolster it is about 2.5mm thick and gradually thins down to about 1.5mm at the tip. The grind is 50/50 convex, which is perfect for this kind of knife and very simple to maintain.

The beautiful Damascus cladding on this Tanaka R2 Santoku resists scratching and helps to stop produce sticking to the side of the blade. After using this knife for a short time it’s easy to see why Tanaka knives have earnt a reputation for being beautiful, functional, premium quality blades. Shigeki Tanaka clearly understands, not only the forging process, but the needs of the professional and home cook.

The R2 series knives are great value, hand forged blades. We have been using the R2 series in our own test kitchen and find them to be razor sharp, light weight and nimble blades. The Japanese Wa handles are really very comfortable, robust and over long periods seem to reduce fatigue. If you are looking for a premium quality, hand forged kitchen knife that will stand up to trials of everyday use then the R2 series will not let you down.

If you would like to learn more about kitchen knives check out our cook smart series on kitchen knives, which discusses everything from the different knife types, how they are made and the various different materials they are made from. We also have articles and videos on lots of other cooking related topics including ingredients, product reviews, cookery courses and smart cooking guides. Check out all the great reading and viewing material in our Magazine.


Tanaka Knives

Tanaka knives have been hand forging kitchen knives since 1946. Based in Miki-City just outside Osaka, Japan. Tanaka Knives was made famous by Kazuyuki Tanaka who along with his son Shigeki developed the SG2 range.

The Tanaka team consists of about a 5-man team who produce each knife completely by hand. The blades are all hand forged by Shegeki Tanaka, while the handles and sharpening is all undertaken by other members of this artisan team.

Shigeki Tanaka is a world-renowned Master Blacksmith and has now taken over Tanaka Knives from his father Kazuyuki. He is a fourth-generation master and produces several kitchen knife series including the SG2 Ironwood, SG2 Wa (Japanese style Handle), VG10 3D, and VG10 Wa.

Shigeki is considered an artist within the kitchen knife industry and a number of Michelin stared chefs choose to use a Tanaka kitchen knife as their primary knife. The Modern Cooking team have been working with Tanaka Knives for several years and we can highly recommend them.

Tanaka R2 Series

The R2 series blade is made in the same way as the famous Ironwood Series. The core consists of SG2 steel and is clad in 32 layers of stainless steel. It’s a Suminagashi or Damascus finish, which Shigeki Tanaka specializes in.

The only difference between the Ironwood series and the R2 series, apart from the handle, is the blade finish. The R2 series blades are not acid treated and so the Suminagashi finish is black or grey in color. This variation is only aesthetic in nature and has no impact on the quality blade.

The handle on this series, being a R2 style handle or Japanese style, is highly interchangeable. The series is available with a variety of octagonal handles including Walnut, Ebony, and Black Plywood, amongst others.

The R2 series comes in a variety of different blade types including Gyuto, Santoku, Nakiri, and Petty. Each of the blades are available in a variety of different sizes also.

We consider the R2 series one of the best value, and highest quality knives available. This is an artisan product, Shigeki Tanaka is a master blacksmith and this series of knives is absolutely fantastic!

Additional Information

Blade Type




Core Steel

R2 / Super Gold 2 (SG2)

HRC Rockwell


Handle Shape

Octagonal Japanese "Wa"

Handle Material

Walnut with Buffalo Ferrule


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