Most readers would be aware that the 'san' in santoku means three in Japanese, said to refer to this knife's three cutting virtues of dicing, slicing and mincing. Some Japanese sources say the three are meat, vegetables and fish, so feel free to take your pick.
What about santoku's 'toku'? The word is from sanskrit, the meaning (with religious undertones) is basically 'goodness'. "Toku wo tsuminasai". Forget yourself and pile up the good works in this life.
The emphasis in the modern meaning is on getting rather than giving, so toku has come to mean something like 'extra', 'bonus' or 'score'. Imagine scratching the cork from under the lid of a soft drink bottle and scoring a freebie (remember that?) "Toku shita!" is what you'd say. I got something extra and I didn't have to pay!
So, santoku - one knife, more than one toku. Bonus!
Bannou and bunka knives are essentially the same in function as the santoku, we recommend santoku-seekers also explore our selection of bannou knives and bunka knives. The difference lies in names alone. Each is a double-bevel, all-purpose, not-too-long kitchen knife that's ideal for daily meal preparation at home.