Japanese Steel Scissors and Shears Guide

January 18, 2021

What are the best Japanese hair shears

Do a poll about which nation manufactures the highest quality goods and a good percentage will answer Japan.

For the past few decades, Japan has enjoyed a reputation for manufacturing goods that are high tech, durable and sophisticated. Japan’s manufacturing is world-renowned in a wide range of industries including robotics, electronics, automobiles, shipbuilding, swords and shears.

Some of Japan’s neighbors have won manufacturing work based on their low labor costs while Japan wins on innovative product design and superior quality.

When the world wants the best, it looks to Japan to produce it. And Scissor Tech is no different.

High-Quality Japanese Steel

With Japanese materials and goods, you know what you’ll get. There’s no sloppy work using second-grade products. Nope, the Japanese have a reputation to uphold. They take great pride in turning the finest raw materials into high-performing products.

There are a lot of companies that specialize in making Japanese stainless steel products for a variety of industries - like the automotive industry, restaurant industry, construction, and of course, it's used to make some of the best hair cutting scissors in the world.

Japanese stainless steel is known for:

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Easy to handle
  • Lighter than most types of stainless steel
  • Keeping a razor-sharp edge longer
  • Being more damage resistant and tougher
  • Being the best hair cutting shears in the world by reputation

Take a look at our guide to some of the best scissor materials in the world:


VG10 is known as SuperSteel and cutlery grade because it was designed by Japanese chefs. VG is short for Vanadium and Gold.

The Rockwell Hardness of VG is between 59 to 61 due to its high carbon content and cobalt. VG10 shears are popular because they maintain a sharp blade and for their durability. It’s possible to gain a sharper edge with VG10 than many other types of steel.

Check out our range of Matsui VG10 Scissors.

Damascus Steel

Another superior form of steel, Damascus, is made using layering or laminating techniques. The steel is folded onto itself 15-17 times which creates around 5,000 tiny layers of steel. Known as Tajyusou in Japan, the skill has been passed down through generations.

The layering technique gives the appearance of fine wood grain or watermark on the surface of the shears. The layers provide strength and flexibility and soft closing action of the blades.

See our range of Damascus shears


Did You Know...

What is Aichei Steel and Why is it Great for Scissors?

Aichei Steel vs. Aichi Steel

Aichei Steel is also often misspelled - people tend to write and search for "Aichi Steel'' or "Aichi Scissors''. Why is that?

Aichi is actually a prefecture in Japan, famous for Toyota and Nagoya Castle. What about Aichi Steel or Aichi Scissors? Not so much... We tried to find out where this mistake originated, and it's actually quite clear.

While Matsui makes Aichei Steel Scissors, one of the top manufacturers of professional hair cutting scissors and hair cutting shears, Aichi Steel (愛知製鋼, Aichi Seikō) supplies automotive steel for Toyota and is part of the Toyota Group.

Steel used in scissor making

The mistake between Matsui Aichei Steel is easy to make since even Google corrects your spelling to Aichi Steel (and so does our Grammarly!) - they are huge on the market when it comes to construction and automotive steel. But not hair cutting scissors!

Keep in mind that Matsui Aichei Steel is made specifically for manufacturing super sharp and stylish barber scissors. It's infused with cobalt, to improve the durability, toughness and keep tools resistant to normal wear and tear - scratches, chipping, and other surface or structural damage.

This is great news for anyone who has ever cracked or scratched their hairdressing scissors beyond repair - a salon is a busy place, and they're bound to get dropped sooner or later, but let’s hope you don’t at all.

Barber scissors used in the salon

What is Matsui Aichei Steel?

Let's talk about Japanese Steel that's used to make the best hair cutting shears. This type of steel is particular to Matsui, and they are covered by a lifetime warranty. Yes, these professional shears are meant to outlast the hairstylist that wields them. Crazy right? But it’s true, don’t believe us? Give them a go today at scissortec.com.

This type of Japanese steel is made for this type of usage - and the ergonomic design of these sharp cutting professional shears can be made more custom for your hands - the set usually comes with special, handy plastic inserts that make the shears adjustable to your hand size, while still getting the benefit of the high-end metal product for cutting hair.

Aichei hair shears are known all over the world for their beautiful appearance and toughness - perfect for the professional hairdressers and barbers of the world.

Why is Japanese Steel the Best for Hair Shears?

After crafting and sharpening swords, scissors and shears for all these years, Japanese craftsmen know what’s the best steel for producing top-quality blades that stay sharper for longer. Consumers the world over are prepared to pay top dollar for the best quality products.

The Japanese shears sold in our online store are made from two major steel producers in the country, Hitachi and Aichi.

Hitachi Metals

Hitachi Metals continues the ancient tradition of crafting quality blades. Hitachi also produces products for the automotive, infrastructure and electronics industries.

Aichei Steel Corporation

Aichei Steel Corporation produces high-quality specialty steel, stainless steel, forged products, electro-magnetic products, tool steel, amorphous wire and stainless steel/titanium for a range of industries including shipbuilding, automotive, dental, agriculture and electronics.

History of High-Quality Japanese Steel and Scissors

Steel has a long history in Japan - the production of swords was not only a complicated process but a sacred one - there were Shinto rituals performed during the forging process, and it took decades for a swordsmith to become a true master of his art.

Scissor-making never required such pomp and circumstance, however, this craft definitely has its history. The first pair of known shears were produced over 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and were made out of bronze.

This means that even back then, proper scissors represented quite an investment as they must have been incredibly expensive. So count yourselves lucky these days, they are way more affordable for the hairdressers and barbers of today.

Range of hairdressing scissors

Best Japanese Steel Used in Shears Today

Today, professional scissors are made out of high-grade quality steel, which is graded in multiple ways - there are the SAE steel grades developed in the 1940s by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Confusing… we know! This is why we’re going to break it down for you below.

They go from 100 to 900, depending on their properties. Japan also has its own grading system that starts with the letters VG (at least for our purposes).

The types of steel (not only Japanese) mostly used for hair scissors are:

  • 440C - 440C steel has the highest durability and the highest carbon content of the 400 series. It is mostly used in applications that require a razor edge - like chef knives and some hairdressing scissors. Scissors made out of this type of steel are famous for their sharp cutting edge.
  • VG-10 - This is another type of steel that is often used for chef knives and premium quality hair cutting scissors, and are especially durable because of their high titanium content. It's produced in Japan, and the "G" in the specification stands for "Gold", as in "Gold Quality''. (yes we love gold too) This type of steel is perfect for texturizing shears and makes a clean cut on wet or dry hair.
  • VG-1 - This is another "Gold Quality" type of Japanese steel. Its high-carbon content makes it perfect for making scissors and chef knives. The carbon content makes scissors made out of VG-1 excellent for cutting thick hair and curly hair. They keep their edge and are built for busy professionals (whether in the kitchen or in the salon!).
  • Matsui Aichei Steel - This custom steel is perfect for making hairdressing scissors and shears. It is a type of cobalt infused steel that is crafted to keep an extremely sharp edge and is known for its quality and durability. It's not heavy, which makes it easy to handle for professionals that want their scissors to handle like an extension of their own hand - shears made from this material are great for all cutting techniques. Remember not to get it confused with Aichi Steel - it's not the same thing!

Keep in mind that your run-of-the-mill crafting scissors will be made out of much poorer quality material, some of it not even stainless. It's the material that matters - you can either be a samurai of haircutting or have the poor quality of your scissors get in the way of your talent every time.

Best Japanese Hair Cutting Scissors Brands

You have probably seen these top brands wherever you shop for high-quality hair scissors, thinning scissors, or any type of professional hair cutting shears.

Where do they come from and what's their story? What is the best brand for Japanese hair cutting scissors? So many questions we have the answers for!


Kamisori is a professional hairdressing scissor company. They have been around for over 18 years, and provide a wide choice of hair shears, thinning scissors, professional carrying cases as well as combs, razors and shaving kits.

If you're looking for some bling (which we all love a bit of bling in our life or scissor case for that matter), they also have stainless steel necklaces with hairdressing accessories for those hairdressers who like to make their passions known. Scissor Tech offers a wide variety of Kamisori products, all made from high-quality stainless steel.

They carry on the Japanese tradition of high-quality steel products, even naming one of their high-quality hair scissor series the "Sword Series".


Matsui is a famous brand that produces hair scissors and professional shears made from Aichei Steel, which is a type of stainless steel that is particular to this company. Established in 1998, Matsui Scissors are at the cutting edge of both quality, ergonomic handle design and the type of stylish salon shears that you want to show off to your clients and coworkers

They not only have sharp blades and a sleek design but they include some fun extras, like Swarovski Crystal embellishments. This is an Australian company that draws from the best Japanese stainless steel traditions for their Aichei Steel (or like some people insist, "Aichi Steel'') line of shears.

We consider the Matsui brand to be the premiere in Japanese high precision hair shears. As soon as you pick up a pair of Matsui shears, the design and quality are clear. The Matsui brand uses a few different Japanese steels in its ranges which include the Aichei Mountain Steel, the Damascus Steel Shears and the Silver Swarovski Crystals collections.

Discover the shears available in the three Matsui ranges:

Matsui Aichei Mountain Shears

Matsui Damascus Shears

Matsui Swarovski Crystals Collection


Yasaka makes exclusive hair cutting scissors that can be hard to find on the open market - they are made with professionals in mind. They keep a razor edge for a long time, and their price is actually fairly low for the type of quality that it represents.

Yasaka hair shears are probably one of the best deals for this type of material on the market, using state of the art manufacturing equipment combined with master craftsmanship to produce shears with clam-shaped blades. The steel’s hardness, resistance to corrosion and ergonomic design is necessary for professional hairdressers and barbers.

You’ll fall in love with the Yasaka Shears Collection.


Still not convinced by any of the brands mentioned above? Well, then, Joewell is the shear brand for you! Designed with master craftsmanship and quality in mind, discover the extensive experience, and leading technology in hairdressing.

Jowell Shears award-winning design and hand-finished shears provide the sharpest cuts for professional hairdressers and barbers.

Check out the collection of gold, black, chrome and colored Joewell Shears.

To learn more about this cult brand's history, read our article about The Century-Old Joewell Shears.

Sozu Shears

Apprentice hairdressers and barbers may not afford the top-of-the-line shears but the Sozu brand allows them to enjoy the benefits of Japanese-made shears without the high price tag.

Check out the Sozu Shears Collection if you’re in the early stage of your career.

Japanese Hair Cutting Scissors FAQs

Why is Cobalt added to Aichei Steel?

Cobalt is infused with added Aichei Steel in order to give it extra durability. You can find it not only in Japanese hair cutting shears but also in heavy-duty tools that require durability.

Is the steel used to make Katanas the same kind used for making my thinning shears or scissors?

The process of making Katanas is still a sacred tradition in Japan - and the way that Katana steel is handcrafted takes decades to master. While this rare Tamahagane steel is used to make quality chefs' knives, there can only be a few extremely rare antique scissors found that were made with this type of Japanese steel.

Modern shears are made with factory-made steel that is machine-controlled, in a carefully measured process.

Is Japanese steel really better quality than let's say German or Chinese steel?

Japanese steel has a better reputation than any other type of steel in the world. Japanese made steel has a higher carbon content, especially when it comes to the type of steel used for professional knives and sharp blades.

The higher carbon content makes the metal harder, which makes it possible to make a thinner, more elegant tool. So basically to answer your question - yes, yes it is.

How do I take care of scissors made out of Japanese steel

The care of these stainless shears is quite easy. Make sure to keep them in their leather case when not using them, and out of harm's way.

The correct way to clean your scissors is to - after use wipe down your scissors with a clean damp cloth to remove and excess hair and was all hair is removed wipe over again with a dry clean cloth to ensure there is no residue or moisture on the scissors themselves, as this can cause rusting and pitting. (what you definitely don’t want for your scissors)

Once all dry oil, your scissors at the pivot point ready for next use. You should be doing this at least once a week minimum! If you can do more, even better! If you get stuck check out our scissor maintenance guide for step by step guidance.

How do I sharpen professional stainless steel scissors?

This is better left to a professional- see our guide on sharpening blades on professional hairdressing scissors, where you will find out why getting your shears to a professional bladesmith is a good idea.

Why Japanese Shears are Hand-Made?

The blades on all our Japanese shears are hand-made because machines can’t replicate craftsmanship. Japanese swords date back to the fourth or fifth century AD. So it’s no surprise that Japanese swordsmiths and bladesmiths are the best in the business.

Can I Buy Japanese Shears Online?

Yes, you can buy Japanese shears online right here at Scissor Tech. We have one of the largest online stores stocking Japanese hairdressing shears and scissors. You’re sure to find a pair of shears here that are perfect for you. Have a look through our three collections.

Matsui Shears

Joewell Shears

Yasaka Shears Collection

A Selection of Our Favourite Japanese Shears

It feels like choosing a best-loved child but we’ve chosen a few of our favourite Japanese shears below.

Matsui Rose Gold Aichei Mountain Offset Shear

Prime quality cobalt infused steel, this blushing beauty is perfect for slide cutting. The premium Japanese steel provides a fine razor sharp cutting edge. Available in 5.5 or 6 inch sizes.

Matsui Precision Matte Black Cutting Shear

Made from Hitachi 440C Japanese Steel, this pair of shears has form and function in spades. The hard-wearing matt black coating is complimented by pops of rose gold on the trims. Available in 5.5 or 6 inch sizes.

Joewell Black Cobalt Series

A fine pair of matte black shears. The cobalt alloy steel provides a razor sharp edge, perfect for a smooth cutting action and blunt cuts. The black protective coating provides a sleek finish. Available in 5.5 and 6 inch sizes.

Yasaka Offset Handle

The perfect shears for point cutting and slicing, the hard steel also makes them resistant to corrosion. Available in 5, 5.5 and 6 inch sizes.

Sozu Essentials Pink Rainbow Cutting Scissor

A stunning printed scissor with ergonomic handles and an affordable price tag for apprentice hairdressers.

Complete Peace of Mind With Online Ordering

Even though you’re guaranteed a good quality pair of shears when you choose a Japanese brand, you aren’t guaranteed that they’re the best pair of shears for YOU. There’s a lot of personal preference with shears, scissors, knives and swords.

We all have original hands and different techniques when we’re wielding a pair of shears in the salon, a knife in the kitchen or a sword…Hopefully you’re not jousting with anything more than a kids’ plastic sword!

What feels entirely comfortable in one hand might feel too heavy, too light, too long, too short, or even unbalanced in another. And when that happens, you need the option to return them for an exchange or refund.

Scissor Tech wants your shears to be just right so any pair of shears you buy is covered by our Return and Exchange Policy.

If there’s anything you’re unsure of, don’t hesitate to contact one of our shears’ experts and we’ll answer your queries.

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