This is only indirectly related to kitchen knives, but I saw that a fun series was recently added to Netflix streaming: "Weapon Masters."
The basic premise of the show is that each episode they look at some historically important weapon and then try to improve on it using modern materials or processes.
Season 1, episode 5 is on the Katana.
(if the link doesnt work, just search "Weapon Masters" on netflix)
As goofy as the host is, this is actually some of the best footage and explanation of the traditional tamahagane steel making process and sword forging that I've seen.
If you don't have nexflix, here's the portion on the Japanese steel and blade: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbnc1KKQdHk,
but it's really worth seeing the whole episode.
I found it really interesting that laminate sword construction is actually the opposite of kasumi knife construction in that the SOFT steel makes up the core and is wrapped with the hard steel. This makes sense when you think about the demands placed on a sword vs kitchen knife: both still have the hardest steel along the edge and the softest along the spine, but the sword has hard steel around the sides as well.
I wont ruin it, but the final show down is between a laminate steel traditional sword and a mono-steel (1080 IIRC) "modern" sword and geometry and polish clearly make a difference.
def have to watch this series. Had a guy at work tell me about it but he couldn't remember the channel or the name.