Yes, I may have a slightly sarcastic attitude towards some aspects of Japanese cutlery and the mystique surrounding it. I am not insulting the skill that has been developed over the centuries. Tradition is another matter. The fact that the Japanese smiths still use archaic techniques and gear and manage to produce what they do is a glowing testament to their skill. Some of the REASONS that they continue to do things they way they do are a bit puzzling. I am not the only one who has posted in this thread that they don't like that gap. All i know is that if I presented a knife for judging in Atlanta that looked like that, I would be told to go home and try again next year........or maybe in two or three years.
I was thinking ... (always dangerous)
One use for the gaps might have been to get a good grip to remove the blade from the handle.
There could be a need to replace a damaged or worn out handle since metal can outlast wood, and is more valuable.
I'd rather be an edgy guy than a wedgie guy.
Machi never bothered me at all...I'm surprised it has bothered people that much.
Count me in as another who doesn't like it.