Between the Hiromoto AS and the Konosuke, the Konsuke is a better all around knife. I really like the AS in the Hiromoto, but the Konosuke will be better in almost every other way. Geometry, profile, handle, F&F, grind, etc. Just a lot better knife in my humble opinion.
Sharpening wise, get a good 1,000 grit and a 6,000 grit stone and you should be good for the most part. If you're able to add to that, get a DMT XXC plate for flattening, and a coarse stone like the 500 Beston.
Basically this set:http://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html
Plus the DMT Plate:http://www.chefknivestogo.com/dmtextracoarse.html
Both of those are OOS at the moment though. You can piece together similar sets with other stones or wait until those come back in.
The knife for your friend....
The Tanaka would be nice:http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tanakagyuto1.html