CRKT Otanashi Noh Ken

The CRKT Otanashi Noh Ken (Silent Sword) was designed per a request from SOCOM for a large, thin combat folder that was easy to carry and conceal.  The design is a collaboration between CRKT and James Williams. Williams, has designed many tools for Columbia River Knife and Tool, all which draw heavily on traditional Japanese blade design married with modern features, materials and technology. The majority of his offerings are informed by his martial arts training and work as an instructor teaching military and LE personnel.

CRKT Otanashi Noh Ken by James Williams

The Otanashi Noh Ken is very much an extension of the Williams’ designed line for CRKT and fills a niche that other models in the series do not. More specifically the knife has a greater size than the other folders, along with features and a form factor to improve conceal-ability.

Otanashi Noh Ken Part Open

The 4.56″ x .157″ thick blade on the Otanashi Noh Ken is a tanto that is optimized for penetrating cuts. This is further augmented by a thin profile, slightly upswept point and swedged spine. Its geometry is essentially an Osoraku-zukuri style blade. This shape was made famous during the 16th century being favored by the powerful feudal ruler (diamyo) Takeda Shingen.   The profile is defined by the tip (kissaki) making up approximately 2/3rds of the blade.

The blade steel used here is AUS 8 that is hardened between 58-59 Rockwell. AUS 8 is considered a mid-range grade steel that offers a great working edge and easy maintenance. The blade has a matte black finish that reduces glare and gives the knife a modern, aggressive appearance.

Otanashi Noh Ken Handle

The handle on the knife is large yet very thin, designed with concealment in mind. On one side the handle has heavily textured G10 that provides an excellent grip. Additional traction comes from three deeply milled slots that also add a nice, subtle design detail. The opposite side is a stainless slab that includes the frame-lock and a unique variation on the LAWKS safety mechanism. Normally LAWKS is on the inner edge of the frame however this version is on the outside and doubles as a lock-bar over-travel stop. Lock-up is very solid and without play or rock in any direction. For carry there is a low riding, left or right handed tip up pocket clip. This, coupled with the handle thinness, does an excellent job keeping the knife comfortably out of sight.

Otanashi Noh Ken LockupCRKT LAWKS SafetyLAWKS / Over Travel StopFrame LockOsoraku-Zukuri

Over-all the Otanashi Noh Ken is an excellent offering from CRKT’s line targeted toward professional use. The blade design coupled with a quick, easy deployment and strong lock make for a formidable tool. In many ways this folder is the best yet from this line, providing excellent build quality and function in a desirable, aesthetic package. People who love big folders will easily find a home for this knife along with professionals and collectors of combat/utility style knives. CRKT has done an exceptional job keeping the Williams design style apparent while making improvements and adding something unique to the line-up.

Available at BladeHQ

Clip Attachment Detail Landyard HoleHandle JimpingOtanashi G10 SlotsOtanashi Noh Ken Slot Detail


Overall length: 10.13 in (257 mm)
Closed: Length: 4.57 in (116 mm)
Weight: 6.4 oz (181 g)


Shape: Osoraku zukuri (Japanese Tanto)
Material: AUS 8
Blade Length : 4.56″
Hardness (HRC): 58-59 HRC
Thickness: 0.16 in (4 mm)
Bevel Grind: Flat
Surface Finish/Coating(include color): Bead Blast (black corrosion resistant coating)

Handle Information

Length in the closed position: 5.56 in (141 mm)
Material: Black G10 & black coated 420J2 SS
Lock Mechanism: Frame Lock
Safety System: LAWKS
Carry: Low riding tip up reversible pocket clip
Surface Finish: Bead Blast

Made in Taiwan

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The Edge Observer

The Edge Observer is a site dedicated to knife reviews, primarily focusing on folding knives.

38 thoughts on “CRKT Otanashi Noh Ken

    1. This model is not spring assisted and the LAWKS is manual, not AutoLAWKS. Also, the LAWKS on this one is a bit unique in that it doubles as the over-travel stop. I generally prefer knives without safeties, but I think most will find this one tucked neatly out of the way when not in use and a good back-up if needing to do some heavy work. As always, thanks for reading and commenting JD!

  1. You forgot to mention the length of the blade…Some where around 4 & 1/2 inches, I think…

    What an excellent kife!…I can hardly wait to get one!

    1. This knife won’t be coming out until January after SHOT 2013 after which, you should be able to pick one up in the usual places.

  2. Excellent review, man. I like how James Williams has refined this design when compared with something like the Hissatsu folder. It’s sleeker, more elegant, almost has an industrial feel to it. Very cool.

    1. I really like this one. I have most of Williams’ designs and feel that this model has a lot to offer. Thanks for checking out the review Dan!

  3. I have really enjoyed watching what Mr. Williams (CRKT)comes out with . Very exciting useful designs seated in such a rich interesting history. I can’t wait till this knife becomes available. Are you aware of any of Mr. Williams designs being produced by any other companies or custom makers aside from his swords?

  4. You are the best site where i can check knives reviews,also best videos.And this CRKT is very very cool!
    Thank you The Edge Observer!!!You are very very cool!!!!!!!!!

  5. i hope this knife is better than that crap hissatsu folder, with the cheap, hollow plastic handle and the just-about-impossible-to-open blade action.

  6. I have to ask my friend, is the blade coating on this durable or does it rub off easily? Also, considering the length of the handle, does it actually fit in the pocket of a pair of jeans?

    Why I ask? Because I think I need one.

  7. I have a Hissatsu folder, and I agree that, as supplied, the blade is hard to deploy. My solution was to remove the “spring”, which is just a fat rod, and probably illegal in New York. Apart from that I like the knife, but find it heavier than I like to carry every day.

    1. I think if you like the Hissatsu you’ll probably like the Otanashi Noh Ken more. Definitely not legal in New York from what I understand.

  8. Very good knife.Fits in jeans pocket.Easy to deploy.High quality blade.However the handle lenghth should be extended another 1/8 in.or so.When folded the tip of the blade is pointed towards the clip and the blades tip is exposed. When reaching into your pocket it is possible to come in contact with the exposed tip of the blade resulting in injury.Speaking from experience, 4 stiches to the pinkie finger of my right hand.

    1. I’ve seen this “blade tip exposed when folded” comment twice on two forums, possibly the same person or a copy cat based on the details given. Lots of people comment or review knife, why aren’t more people pointing this out if it actually happens? Whoever heard of a folding knife leaving the blade exposed? More to the point, why in all the photos of it closed is there no sign of the exposed tip?

      Exposed tip on folding sounds totally fake. More like clumsy handling if it’s a real story at all.

      1. I haven’t seen the posts concerning an exposed tip on the Otanashi Noh Ken. During the use and testing of the knife I’ve never caught myself on the tip. As for the pictures, they don’t lie. No exposed points here. If there was an issue the person should just return it too CRKT. They have awesome customer service.

      2. the blade tip on my Otanashi noh Ken is very close to the tip of the handle which is wide enough for my normal sized finger to come in contact with the tip when withdrawing from my pocket.I believe this is a potential QC problem with my knife and or a few other purchasers of this knife. I own many knives,particularily CRKT models,whoch are ultea high quality.that is why my personal situation may appear unusual to you.
        however,safe handling is my middle name:).

  9. Thanks for the QC suggestion.I contacted CRKT and they sent me a new Otanashi noh Ken which is perfect in function and does not have a safety issue.My fingers are unable to make contact with the blade’s tip when drawing knife from my front pants pocket.
    CRKT has a customer service department which is far above the status quo.I cannot say enough in this regard!

  10. I am new to the knife world, and I was torn between this knife and the Extrema Ratio Dark Talon. Decided to try this knife along with the two smaller versions from CRKT. Your reviews have me hooked now in a new hobby. Thank you!

  11. Is this Williams Otanashi Noh Ken knife really made in Taiwan ? I thought CRKT had
    moved all production to China – nothing to complain, but in my opinion knives made
    in Taiwan are of better quality and finish.
    Thanks for a great review !

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