About the shape - Santoku means 'Three Virtues' or 'To solve Three Problems'. The three virtues are meat, fish and vegetables, or slicing, dicing and mincing depending on your interpretation. This means that the Santoku is an all-around knife, suitable for the amateur home cook and the professional chef alike. The heigh means good clearance for big hands, while the relatively short blade can be wielded by anyone.
About Manaka Hamono - Kisuke Manaka is a relatively young, 5th generation, blacksmith in Kasukabe, Saitama pref. Manaka-san didn’t like the dishonest way his father-in-law operated his business so he decided to become a blacksmith himself. He began making knives from scratch about 10 years ago, with nothing but a workshop full of equipment and no mentor. He is completely self-taught, yet he mastered techniques to forge-weld steels in house, even forge welding stainless steel which is no easy task.
Now he forge-welds everything in house, from hard carbon steel clad with soft steel, stainless steel clad with stainless, and carbon steel clad with stainless steel. The Shirogami #2 steel used in these knives is forge-welded in house by Manaka-san. This is a very traditional steel that can achieve incredible sharpness and has great edge retention, a favourite of more traditional blacksmiths.