I recently got a coupon for Williams-Sonoma and figured I'd have a look at their website to see if there was anything interesting. What I found was not interesting in the "hey, I'd like one of those!" way, but rather interesting in the "well what the heck do they mean by that?" way. Namely the following line taken from the Masahiro section of their website:
"Widely considered to be one of the three most presitigious knife makers in all of Japan, the Masahiro Company creates knives with professional-level performance in mind."
Now my first thoughts were "Masahiro, really?" and "Well who the heck does their marketing person think are the other two most prestigious?" Trivialities like that aside though, it did get me wondering what the Japanese make of things like this. Do they view things like knives as "prestige" items in the same way that we do in the west? I feel like Japanese culture would allow for pride in the creation of a high-quality product but not necessarily drive toward the element of public recognition that "prestige" entails, but maybe I'm wrong about this? How does the concept of prestige play out in the Japanese mentality?
And to end things on a fun note, who would YOU consider "prestigious" knifemakers?