Kamisori questions

Discussion in 'General Straight Razor Talk' started by Slash McCoy, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. Do you shave with the hollow side to the face, or the flat side?

    Does anybody use them in pairs, i.e. a left hand and a right hand razor, mirror images of each other?

    Just curious. Not really ready to take the plunge at this point.
  2. Wid


    When I had one I used it like a traditional straight. Hate to say, I didn't care for it and sold it.
  3. i shave both sides works fine for me.
    The angles of approach on each side are different though.
  4. I have always used mine in the most traditional sense. ( but I'm VERY ... OCD )
  5. Kentos

    Kentos Moderator Emeritus

    I use both sides too. I also use diamond spray on my jnat so I have no respect for tradition :lol:
  6. Please just use both sides of the razor. No need to cut your face to ribbons in the name of "tradition." The "traditional" way to use a kamisori, by the way, is to give it to a barber and having HIM shave your face for you. The barber doesn't have any problem using just one side, because he can stand on one side of your head to shave one part and then switch to the other side of your head to shave the other spots. THAT'S the traditional way to use a kamisori. So what does it get you when you shave yourself with just one side of the razor touching your skin? Not a better shave or a "traditional" shave, if you ask me.
  7. Sure, but I've shaved with kamisori using only one side of the blade and not cut my face. Maybe it takes a stubborn man.
  8. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    I use both sides, and switch hands like with a western razor.

    It works for me. I like traditional approaches, but as stated above, they are designed to be used by one person shaving another. If I can't get my valet to do it I have to make things easier on myself.
  9. i use only my left hand but i use both sides of the razor.......

    no need in unnecessary blood loss... those kami's are blood thirsty as it is.... no need to provoke them...
  10. I use both hands and both sides. I'm not going to spend extra effort trying to use them any other way. :001_smile
  11. Not stubborn, just skilled! Seriously, if you've read all of the other threads on this topic, you can see that there are a few very skilled members who can either switch hands or somehow twist their arm around enough just to shave with one side of the kamisori. I do not doubt that it can be done. For the vast majority of us, however, it's simply out of reach and, as Telly says, why bother?! The point here is to get a great shave from your razor, and I think I can say from experience that both sides of the kamisori cut whiskers exactly the same.
  12. Okay, then... so why is the grind asymmetrical? I don't see the point. Just more tradition?
  13. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    A lot of Japanese blades are made that way. In the case of sushi knives, it makes sense because the sliced food falls away from the bulk. I guess the razor works on the same principle.

    And these things were meant to be used by a barber, retainer, wife, holding the razor in one hand and shaving the face, but more often the head, of a seated man. When you think of it that way it makes sense to be asymmetrical.
  14. I've shaved with a nihon kamisori about four times now, and three of those shaves where with the omote (flat side) towards my face. It's not that difficult. Jim Rion said somewhere on his blog, and I have to agree:

    "Kamisori are used with one specific side against the face at all times. That side is the unstamped "Omote." The stamped side, which has a much more pronounced concave, is the "ura" and it is to be used away from the face.The use of Kamisori is a tradition. It is the way it is. [...] If the use was, as you would like, symmetrical, then the blade would be symmetrical.
    This isn't a recommendation or advice, this is the way that they are used, much as when you drive you don't use your right foot on the gas and left on the break. It is what it is. Yes, it's difficult. But it certainly can be learned, if you want to learn it. I have learned it, and I know several other Westerners who have done. And of course, everyone I know in Japan who shaves with one does so.
    Now, as to whether or not you can do it another way, well, that's the thing about the word "can." Of course you can shave any way you want. You can use your razors to slice garlic like Paulie in Goodfellas. But in that case, then you are forcing the tool to adapt to your skills, rather than adapting your skills to using the razor the way it is designed to be used. You are ignoring the hundreds of years of tradition and use that produced these razors.
    In which case, I have to ask: Why have them and use them at all if not to experience that tradition? Western style folding razors, which are naturally designed to shave the way you seem to want to shave, are cheaper, more widely available, and in many ways easier to use."

    Taken from: http://easternsmooth.com/blog/jim-rion/2011/04/11/278-shaving-kamisori-final-word

    I have to agree that, to me, it seems a bit strange to buy an expensive razor that is very much an expression of tradition in itself, which is then usedin a way that explicitly goes against this tradition. To me it kind of seems as just having a novelty piece in a collection, which is fine. It's yours, you're free to use it any way you want and that gives you good results. But it is kind of like using only one side of a traditional western open razor. Again, if this works for you, knock yourself out.

    Indeed, they were initially meant to shave monks' heads. Until somewhere in the 15th/16th century guys on horses started to shave their faces with them. With the flat side towards their face, because they were used with the flat side on the monks' heads.
  15. Kentos

    Kentos Moderator Emeritus

    True. Like everything else we do it's a YMMV. In Japan there are traditional barbers who also use both sides of the blade to shave, as I am sure there are those who use only one side as well. I just started using the things myself and don't see any fault with using them traditionally or non traditionally.
    You could take your view one step further and point out that to hone one on anything other than a Jnat would be going against tradition as well...I guess we all draw our own line at what we feel is reasonable. :) We can agree to disagree.
  16. meh... i ain't much for tradition.... i prefer to not move my kamisori over my face in any way other than a way that won't remove chunks of meat..........

    trying to shave my entire face/neck with the ura away is a sure way for me to add more scars to my already scarred ruggedly handsome countenance.....
  17. Both hands, boths sides for me too.
  18. ouch

    ouch Moderator Contributor

    I have to stop reading the kamisori threads.
  19. hey,

    sure a kamisori is ment to be shaved just with one side, but jimR's quote lacks one big point which is what jeffE wrote. The tradition is to be shaved by a third person with a kamisori and not by urself. Why should i for example shave the first pass against the grain just to be in some kind of tradition? I've tried this two weeks long and it hurt. I use both hands and both sides because its much easier. I think everyone should how he likes it.
  20. If you do not shave with the kamisori in the traditional manner, you will lose face.

    The only way to regain your honor will then be to commit seppuku.

    Simple as that.

    We can now dispense with the constant debate over "right" and "wrong". There is only the correct way, and the way which brings shame to your shave den.

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