Here is our top choice for an excellent entry level Japanese knife! The Kanehide PS60 Gyuto 195mm is made with high quality razor steel with nice hardness of HRC 60-61 through special heat treating. These blades are cryogenic frozen with liquid nitrogen at minus 180 degrees C to enhance the hardness but also the wear resistance.
After 2 months of testing, we felt that this was quite simply the best Western-handled stainless steel knife in its price range. It's fully stainless, sharpens extremely well, and has a nice handle. It's superior to the Mac Pro, Masamoto VG, Tojiro DP, Misono UX10, Richmond Artifex, and the Fujiwara FKM which we also sell and are all in a similar price range. Try it. You won't regret it.
I bought this probably over a year ago. So I've had ample time to use this knife. It is easy to put a killer edge on. I love the geometry of this knife. Love that I've added a western handle in. It's stainless so it's great for the wife. Also the grind is very nice, just breezes through produce or meat.
Purchased this as a gift for a family member who wanted a nice knife that would introduce them to a higher quality knife than they were used to while not breaking the bank. This was highly recommended as knife that greatly outperforms its price point and it does. They are very happy with their new knife and couldn't believe that they'd been using such dull knives previously.