If you’ve been researching Japanese knives to add to your kitchen collection, you’ve probably come across Miyabi.
Miyabi kitchen knives are known for their incredible sharpness and eye-catching design, and two of its most popular collections are Miyabi Kaizen and Miyabi Fusion.
But what’s the difference between these two collections?
In this comparison of Miyabi Kaizen vs. Fusion kitchen knives, you’ll learn how they differ in terms of:
- And much more
So if you’re in the market for new kitchen knives and can’t decide between Miyabi Kaizen and Fusion, keep reading.
Use the links below to navigate the comparison:
- Miyabi Kaizen vs. Fusion: Comparison Chart
- Differences Between Miyabi Kaizen and Fusion Knives
- Similarities Between Miyabi Kaizen and Fusion Knives
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy Miyabi Kaizen or Fusion Knives?
Miyabi Kaizen vs. Fusion: Comparison Chart
The following chart offers a brief overview of Miyabi Kaizen vs. Fusion knives. Each aspect will be covered in-depth throughout this article.
|Miyabi Kaizen||Miyabi Fusion|
|Handle Design||Black, rounded handle with stainless and red accents.||Black, ergonomic with three exposed rivets and tang.|
|Handle Construction||Linen Micarta||Polyoxymethylene|
|Blade Material||VG-10 Steel||VG-10 Steel|
|Blade Design||Flower pattern Damascus||Flower pattern Damascus|
|Blade Hardness||60 Rockwell||60 Rockwell|
|Sharpness||9.5-12 degree angle||9.5-12 degree angle|
|Where They’re Made||Seki, Japan||Seki, Japan|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime|
|Price||$$$$ (view on Amazon)||$$$$ (view on Amazon)|
Differences Between Miyabi Kaizen and Fusion Knives
Let’s jump right into the differences between Kaizen and Fusion knives.
Difference 1: Handle Design
The most significant difference between Miyabi Kaizen and Fusion knives is the handle design.
Kaizen’s handles are rounded and D-shaped — a traditional choice among Japanese-style knives.
The most notable feature is a prominent stainless steel end cap on the butt of the handle encircled by a subtle red line around the perimeter. The Miyabi logo is engraved into the steel.
In the middle of Kaizen handles is a subtle but elegant circular design, breaking up the dark, wood-like texture.
The entire Fusion design is inspired by Chef Morimoto, who combines Japanese and Western influences in his cooking. The handles are solid black with a sleek sheen, featuring a Western-inspired design.
Fusion handles are thicker at the end to prevent slipping while you work. With a visible tang flanked by thin, red accent lines, these ergonomically designed handles are triple-riveted, offering a secure grip while you work.
Both collections feature a similar color palette but have significantly different design profiles.
Difference 2: Handle Construction
The black handles on the Kaizen knives are made from black linen Micarta — a finely woven composite of materials such as paper or linen cooked and sealed with resin — resembling finely grained wood.
The term, Micarta, refers to the company (Norplex Micarta) that creates many knife handles. Due to the wood-grained pattern and texture of Kaizen handles and the material’s waterproof nature, the handles don’t get slippery.
By contrast, Fusion knives are made from a type of durable plastic called polyoxymethylene (POM). It’s moisture and heat resistant and used by other high-end brands such as Wüsthof and Zwilling.
Fusion handles have a rounded spine and heel. The red accents are made from glass beads.
Although both knives include a full tang, it’s covered by the handle material on Kaizen knives, but on Fusion knives, it’s exposed.
Fusion knives feature a half bolster, which is common among Western-style knives.
The Kaizen bolster is much smaller, leaving more room between the handle and the blade.
Difference 3: Product Offerings
The Kaizen and Fusion collections both offer a wide range of knife sizes and blade shapes. You can either buy a complete knife set or individual pieces.
That said, the offerings between the two collections differ. For example, the Kaizen collection includes two sets, a 7- and 10-piece, whereas the only set in the Fusion collection is the 7-piece.
Check out the chart below to see which knives and sets are available in both collections.
Note: You can view all the offerings on Zwilling.com (Kaizen, Fusion) and Amazon (Kaizen, Fusion), but sometimes there’s more stock available on Amazon than Zwilling.com, and vice versa. Check both places if you’re looking for a specific item.
|Knife / Set||Kaizen||Fusion|
|10-piece knife block set||Available||Not Available|
|7-piece knife block set||Available||Available|
|8-inch Gyutoh||Available||Not Available|
|9.5-inch Gyutoh||Available||Not Available|
|7-inch rocking Santoku||Available||Available|
|7-inch hollow ground Santoku||Available||Not Available|
|6-inch Utility fine-edge||Available||Not Available|
|3.5-inch Shotoh||Available||Not Available|
|4.5-inch Shotoh||Available||Not Available|
|4-piece steak knife set||Available||Not Available|
|9.5-inch bread knife||Available||Available|
|5.5-inch Chef’s knife||Available||Not Available|
|5.5-inch fine edge Santoku||Not Available||Available|
|8-inch Chef’s knife||Not Available||Available|
|6-inch wide Chef’s knife||Not Available||Available|
|4.5 and 3.5-inch paring knives||Not Available||Available|
|9-inch slicing knife||Not Available||Available|
|5.5-inch utility knife||Not Available||Available|
|5.5-inch boning knife||Not Available||Available|
Miyabi also features a collection named Kaizen II, but it’s quite different from Kaizen. Kaizen II also features Damascus-style blades (48 layers of steel) but utilizes Pakkawood for the handles. In this comparison, I focus on Kaizen knives, not Kaizen II.
Similarities Between Miyabi Kaizen and Fusion Knives
Now that you understand the differences between Miyabi Kaizen and Fusion knives, let’s review the similarities.
Similarity 1: Blade Materials and Construction
The blades in both collections are made from VG10 (Vanadium Gold 10) grade steel. No gold is used in the crafting process. Instead, the gold refers to the high standard of the blade.
This type of steel is almost exclusively produced in Japan. It’s a stainless steel alloy with a high carbon and vanadium content created by Takefu Special Steel Company, Ltd.
Both blades feature a 65-layer Damascus construction. The layers are hardened by ice via CRYODUR — a method that freezes previously heated and cooled steel to -196°C to make the blade extra durable, flexible, and corrosion-resistant.
Similarity 2: Blade Design
The Kaizen and Fusion collections feature a Damascus blade design known as the “flower pattern.”
It creates a flowing, cascading design that is pleasing to the eye. But it has a function as well, minimizing food sticking to the blade.
The pattern dates back centuries and is named after the city of its origin: Damascus.
Although you can find Damascus patterns on several premium Japanese knives, including Miyabi’s biggest competitor, Shun, the flower pattern on the Kaizen and Fusion knives is rare. Most Damascus cladded steel features slightly wavy lines.
Similarity 3: Sharpness
The Kaizen and Fusion knife blades are hand-honed to a 9.5-12 degree angle per side. This thin blade profile is synonymous with Japanese-made knives.
The hand honing includes a three-step Honbazuke process that produces a scalpel-grade sharpness:
- The blade is coarsely ground with a vertically rotating stone.
- The blade is then finely honed with a horizontally rotating sharpening stone.
- Finally, the edge is polished with a leather stropping block for straightening and aligning the blade.
Knives from other countries, such as Germany, France, and the United States, typically aren’t sharpened to that angle. For example, Wusthof knives (German) are sharpened to 14-degree angles per side.
Whether you choose Kaizen or Fusion, you’ll get the same sharpness and performance from the blade.
Similarity 4: Edge Retention
Knives in both collections retain their edges well, thanks to the hardness of the steel.
Typical hardness for high-end knives ranges between 56 to 62 on the Rockwell scale. Miyabi Kaizen and Fusion blades are hardened to 60.
Harder blades can retain sharper edges, but if the steel is too hard, it becomes brittle and more prone to chipping.
With these knives, you get an ultra-sharp edge along with durability.
The takeaway: both Kaizen and Fusion knives boast excellent edge retention. But because the edges are so thin and the steel is hard, you may need another knife to cut through bones, gords, and other dense ingredients.
Similarity 5: Where They’re Made
Kaizen and Fusion knives are made in Seki, Japan, under traditional Japanese practices.
Seki has a 700-year history of making swords and knives. Creating a Miyabi knife is a hands-on process that also utilizes the latest technological advances and modern machinery.
Miyabi does not outsource its manufacturing. They make knives in their own factory in the heart of Seki.
To put it in perspective: it takes over 100 steps and 42 days to make just one knife worthy of carrying the Miyabi logo.
Get a glimpse of how Miyabi makes its knives in this quick video.
Similarity 6: Limited Lifetime Warranty
Zwilling owns the Miyabi brand, and all Zwilling knives come with a limited lifetime warranty. The company will replace any knife that does not perform as advertised due to material or manufacturing defects, but the warranty does not apply to abuse or misuse.
If you decide to buy Faizen or Fusion knives, follow care instructions; otherwise, you could void the warranty. That includes handwashing and immediately drying your knives, using them on wooden or plastic cutting boards, and only using Miyabi sharpening tools.
Similarity 7: Price
So how much will you pay for Kaizen and Fusion knives?
The bad news — Kaizen and Fusion knives are both expensive.
The good news — there’s not much of a price difference between the two collections.
To view current pricing on Amazon, check out the following chart:
|Knife / Set||Price||View Details|
|Miyabi Kaizen Hollow Edge Santoku Knife||Amazon|
|Miyabi Kaizen 6-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Miyabi Kaizen Paring Knife||Amazon|
|Miyabi Kaizen Utility Knife||Amazon|
|Miyabi Kaizen Slicing Knife||Amazon|
|Miyabi Kaizen 7-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
|Miyabi Fusion 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Miyabi Fusion 5.5-Inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife||Amazon|
|Miyabi Fusion 4.5-Inch Paring||Amazon|
|Miyabi Fusion 6-Inch Wide Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Miyabi Fusion 9-Inch Bread Knife||Amazon|
|Miyabi Fusion 7-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
Bottom Line: Should You Buy Miyabi Kaizen or Fusion Knives?
Now that you know the similarities and differences between the Miyabi Kaizen and Fusion collections, it’s time to decide which kitchen knives are best for you.
Before I offer my recommendation, let’s recap the key differences.
Product Offerings: Kaizen has more offerings than Fusion, including two curated sets.
Handle Design: Kaizen handles are D-shaped with a hidden tang and prominent steel end cap with red accents. By contrast, Fusion handles feature an exposed tang with a unique red outline, visible rivets, and a distinct ergonomic curve towards the butt.
Handle Construction: Kaizen handles are made from black linen Micarta and have a wood-grained aesthetic with stainless steel visible on the butt of the knife. Fusion handles feature a glossy finish made from POM with three rivets.
So, which knife collection is better: Miyabi Kaizen or Fusion?
Here is the bottom line:
Miyabi Kaizen and Fusion are both top-of-the-line Japanese knives that will serve your kitchen well.
If you are looking for knives with an authentic Japanese-style design, I recommend Kaizen.
If you prefer a Japanese-style blade with a Western-inspired handle, Fusion is a great option.
Ultimately, the blades are practically the same, so it comes down to your personal preference regarding the look and feel of the handle.
If you’re looking for a nudge in one direction, I favor the Kaizen collection because it has an authentic Japanese-style design from the tip of the blade to the butt end of the handle.
If you strongly prefer a Western-style handle, check out Wusthof and Zwilling knives before buying Miyabi Fusion — those brands have lots of options and, in some cases, better value.
You can learn more about both Miyabi collections by checking them out on Zwilling.com and Amazon at the links below:
- Miyabi vs. Shun: Which Kitchen Knives Are Better?
- Shun Classic vs. Premier: Which Knife Collection Is Better?
- Shun vs. Global: In-Depth Kitchen Knife Comparison
- Shun vs. Wusthof: In-Depth Kitchen Knife Comparison
- Cutco vs. Shun: Which Kitchen Knives Are Better?
- The Definitive Guide to the Best Kitchen Knife Brands
- The 8 Most Expensive Chef’s Knives (That Are Actually Worth It)
- Japanese vs. German Kitchen Knives: What’s the Difference?