I recently found this person in South Korea while I was doing some research on Korean traditional blades. I exchanged a few emails with him and was quite impressed and happy that someone is actually trying really hard to restore the traditional way of sword/knife making in Korea and thought I'd share this with you guys.
His name is JW Han and he owns "Knife Gallery" in Insadong Seoul, which is supposed to be the biggest privately owned knife showroom in the world with more than 6000 knives. And he also runs his own steel refinery and makes steel bars and damascus steel. He is more of a sword maker rather than kitchen knife maker. But he does make some really good-looking kitchen knives too.
This is one of his works and it's the traditional Korean style kitchen knife with raised tip. The handle is made of maple tree root (is it burl?) He said he makes it from the very scratch (even steel) using the same method used for making traditional Korean swords and can go fully custom as well.
His Japanese style gyuto has a very interesting handle. It is black bamboo (烏 竹) and I have never seen bamboo used in kitchen knife handle, although this is no ordinary bamboo.
The blade and the F&F looks really good on photos, and I am just very happy to see them. Only knives I'd seen before from Korea were crude carbon knives worth only $10-20 or Santoku knives made of cheap SS.
But will I buy his knives? If I had lots of cash to burn, I would. But I'm not that rich and will be challenged by the question "Why risk your hard-earned money, when there are plenty of other "already-proven" knives out there?" And I believe this is the same challenge the maker needs to overcome, if he wants to sell more kitchen knives. But after all, I guess he is more into sword making and didn't really try hard to sell his knife to me when I showed my interests.
But I am so sure one day I will visit his knife gallery when I am up in Korea to try out his knives and will enjoy seeing his collections.