Why is a Japanese Knife More Expensive?
High End Materials
High end materials, like powdered steels, do not come cheap. These steels which are specially made for knives are made in small quantities by very advanced mills. Many of these high-end steels require very specialist knowledge on how to forge and strengthen the steel. Few manufacturers know how to work with steels like this, or simply do not bother as the high price means that knives cannot be made on a mass scale.
Many Chinese factories have access to VG-10 or copies of VG-10. The steel used in the knives may well be VG-10, but it often is not treated properly in the factories, is soft and will not hold an edge.
Welding together lots of layers of steel, grinding and sharpening takes time. All Japanese knives are finished by hand. The sharpening is a skilled task. Knives can be manufactured and sharpened by machine, but the edge is never as good and often are given a concave edge which will dull quickly.
The very best knives are hand forged, a time-consuming process. Hand forged knives cost from £250 upwards but buying one of these knives is investing in the time and skill of the blacksmith.
Some of the knives on the site, we must order over a year in advance and getting the stock is not always guaranteed. It is very difficult to predict demand so far in advance and when stock arrives it can sell out quickly. The factories who know their products are in demand can charge a premium for their products, they have an order book to keep them busy for a long time.