We have a really great selection of yanagibas and that is the knife you should get your partner since it's used more than any other knife in a Japanese sushi bar.
I'm not sure what your price range is but I'll just throw out a couple great ones and you can choose.
Sukenari is fully hand made and made with one of the best steels on the market called Aogami Super. It's also finish sharpened and ready to go right out of the box. The owner of the blacksmith shop personally sharpened these with some excellent Japanese natural stones to give the blade road a great hazy finish. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/suaosu27ya.html
Tamashii brand is made for us by one of the great blacksmith's of Sakai currently working today. His name is Shiraki-san and he's a bad ass blacksmith. The damascus finish on these knives is drop dead gorgeous and you would get oohs and aahhs when the gift is opened. This is a fantastic knife and great performer:http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tash.html
The photo on that knife needs some work. To see the finish check this out with the same maker: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tabl1da240wa.html
Either one of these would be a great gift and can be used for years by your friend.