The difference in front end and back end is one of the things i appreciate with this knife. The front is very thin, the back sturdy...
In terms of cutting i think it cuts as well as most Japanese knives from the top of my mind. I'll do a comparison with a Shige and a couple of others during the coming week or two but as i don't always cook a lot during the weekdays it may not be tomorrow.
I noticed that with the passaround too. It's very sturdy and hefty in the handle and the tip seems quite spritely.