I'v been getting questions about buying single bevel knives lately... specifically about people looking to buy their first single bevel knives... i got about 20 of these e-mails today, so i figured i'd post a bit about it on here:
A quick note on beginners and their first single bevel knives... my recommendation for people getting their first japanese knife will almost always be the same... you want something that will be easy to care for, easy to sharpen, tough (not too chippy), etc. Often times, that leads me to recommend the something like our gesshin uraku series. The white #2 steel will be easier to sharpen, so when you do make mistakes (and you will), the will be easier to fix. Also, its a tougher steel than blue steel (greater resistance to chipping), and while it looses out on edge retention a bit to the blue steel, the aforementioned attributes outweigh that as far as making the knife conducive to use by beginners.
Also, i highly recommend people take the time to check out our Japanese Knife Society videos, which will demonstrate a number of ways these knives are used.
Hope this helps some of you guys out.