A Santoku knife is ideally suited to precision work thanks to the light, narrow blade, which can make thinner cuts, as less food has to be pushed out of the way as the blade makes each slice. Japanese knives require a different technique to Western knives in that they slice through food in a forward and backward motion, rather than Western knives which require a rocking motion, which generally creates thicker slices and takes longer to cut than the quicker Santoku blade.
Some Santoku knives are sharpened on one side of the blade only. This is the traditional Eastern way and enables the chef to have greater control over the direction of cutting. Most Santoku knives are a hybrid of West meets East, in that the shape of the blade is curved with a flat cutting edge and the sharpening is 50/50 on either surface. This makes for easier sharpening and maintenance with a traditional steel or pull through sharpener.