I picked up the Yamashin Funayuki before it went out of stock and really enjoyed using it and the blade shape is much more versatile than a 150mm Petty for the type of cooking I do. It lets me do tip work, or use it on the board. Cutting is awesome with it, even slicing down cabbage for cole slaw and stuff like that. Grinds are nice and thin and I didn't notice the wedging and extra friction I normally find in a KU type knife. I decided that it needed an upgrade from the stock handle and made one out of Jobillo and Cocobolo. I saw the Tsutomu Kajihara Kurouchi one and wanted to get it, too. So I figured I would do a comparison of both!
First, the Yamashin is $60 and White #1 steel with a Ho/Plastic ferrule handle in the stock form. The Tsutomu Kajihara is Blue #2 and $85 and you get a Black Pakkawood ferrule and Rosewood handle. The handle on the Tsutomu Kajihara is MUCH nicer than the Yamashin's handle! Similar to a Moritaka or Takeda type handle in materials, excellent F&F on the handle. The Tsutomu Kajihara has a flatter blade profile and is slightly taller. The Yamashin has more belly at the tip and a little finer tip, too.
The Yamashin is also much thinner in the spine as well:
Yamashin Choil Shot:
Tsutomu Kajihara Choil Shot:
The Tsutomu Kajihara seems to be ground more on the left side of the knife and it almost looks like the right side is slightly concave? I will check that out a bit more since I just noticed it uploading the pics!
Both need the spines and choils smoothed since they are both fairly sharp. The blade road seems to have a cleaner/finer finish on the Tsutomu Kajihara, but the grind seems a bit more consistent/flatter on the Yamashin, especially near the tip. The Tsutomu Kajihara feels like it gets slightly thicker behind the edge at the tip than the Yamashin does. The Ku finish is close on both quality wise.
I know the Yamashin performs VERY well, so I am hoping to test out the Tsutomu Kajihara and see how it does. The factory edge on the Tsutomu Kajihara seems very nice and sharp, no burrs, but the bevel is a bit uneven. I will see if there is any steering or wedging issues when I play with it tomorrow.
For the extra $25 with the Tsutomu Kajihara, you get a MUCH nicer handle and a beefier feeling knife, with a little cleaner blade road finish, but a heavier, thicker knife. Both are good deals, but they both need some smoothing of the spine/choil area as is very common with Japanese knives under $100. Very pleased with both and I will update the post with the cutting results!